Advanced levels at schools

The current grade 11 learners must prepare to meet the minimum requirements to be able to advance to the Namibian Senior Secondary Certificate Advanced Subsidiary (NSSCAS) levels.

22 September 2020 | Education

HENRIETTE LAMPRECHT



Nine years after the national teachers’ conference, where the idea was born to reform the Namibian syllabus of pre-primary until grade 12, is finally under way. Preparations have been made to implement the very first Namibian Senior Secondary Certificate Advanced Subsidiary (NSSCAS) levels in 2021.

According to the spokesperson of the ministry of education, arts and culture, Absalom Absalom, a total of 119 schools (95 government schools and 24 private schools) have been identified to accommodate learners and subjects on this level.

The schools are located across all 14 regions according to population, level of readiness and other deciding factors.

According to Absalom the identified schools had to meet certain requirements, which included hostel infrastructure since they will be receiving learners from feeder schools ending on the Namibia Senior Secondary Certificate exams on the ordinary (NSSCO) level.

“The schools should have better laboratory facilities and infrastructure for conducting practical aspects for NSSCAS subjects such as biology, physics and chemistry. Teachers should have experience in teaching at least three subjects at NSSCH level, which is the outgoing curriculum that is being replaced in order to be able to handle the demanding NSSCAS curriculum,” Absalom said.

“Good school management is another requirement schools need to meet,” he added.

Unlike other countries introducing AS level for the first time, Absalom says Namibia is lucky since it has previously offered HIGCSE/NSSCH.

“That was just a qualification tailored for Namibia which was higher than IGCSE/NSSCO. Although it was not offered widely across regions, teachers gained experience in teaching and assessing a demanding curriculum. The transition from NSSCH to NSSCAS, or simply referred to as AS, will be smoother for other teachers,” he said.

Since the ministry has expanded in terms of schools, Absalom emphasises that teachers will still require continuous support.

He admits that there are not enough teachers proven competent to teach on the NSSCAS level in all subjects.

In the new revised curriculum, the junior secondary phase has changed from two to three years. Grade 10 has moved to senior secondary phase to create more study time for senior secondary phase subjects.

Learners will now write junior secondary phase semi-external exams at the end of grade nine. The senior secondary phase (grade 10 to 12) now starts in grade 10 with the NSSCO that will be covered over two years in grades 10 and 11.

Next year, NSSCH will be replaced with an advanced replacement (NSSCAS) level one-year course that will be covered in grade 12.

NSSCO (grade 10 to 11) will consist of a curriculum with core subjects such as biology and geography. New subject choices will include chemistry, physical sciences, entrepreneurship, integrated advanced arts, hospitality studies, metalwork and welding, carpentry, construction, mechanics and health and social work.

Support subjects are life sciences and physical education (PE).

An external exam for the NSSCO qualifications will be completed at the end of grade 11, which will be done for the first time this year.

Learners will receive a NSSCO certificate (which has the same status and value as the current NSSCO), which is equivalent to the Cambridge International General Certificate of Secondary Education (IGSCE) and O-level qualifications which are designed for 14 to 16-year-old learners.

This paves the way for the grade 12 (NSSCAS) for further education or employment.

In grade 12 and AS levels, learners will have three to five subjects with in depth content, key concepts will be introduced and skills for deeper thoughts will be cultivated.

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