Education ministry unwavering in protecting Cambridge accreditation

Cancelling this year's National Senior Secondary Certificate ordinary level examination was the only option to safeguard the school-leaving certificate's international recognition, the education ministry says.

13 December 2021 | Education

ESTER KAMATI

WINDHOEK

The education ministry says rewriting some examination papers next year is the best option to protect the NSSCO qualification’s Cambridge accreditation after a leak of exam papers announced earlier this month.

The decision to rewrite the National Senior Secondary Certificate (NSSC) ordinary level examination, and postpone other subjects to January and February, has met opposition from teachers and learners.

According to the ministry, the decision was guided by the requirements of the accreditation agreement with Cambridge International, which endorsed the decision.

“The ministry has a legally binding contract with Cambridge Assessment International to ensure that credible examinations are administered that will lead to the awarding of school-leaving certificates that are accredited by Cambridge International.

“Certain standards must be maintained in order for Cambridge International to certify our qualifications,” the ministry said.

It explained that question papers must be quality assured and approved by Cambridge, and exams taken under set safety regulations.

“If this is not done, subjects may not be accredited or even the full qualification might lose its accreditation and recognition on the Namibia Qualifications Authority Framework (NQF).”

The ministry said it had evidence of a widespread leak of question papers, and had to think fast to protect the examination’s credibility.

Resistance

The decision to rewrite the examinations was met with resistance from many, including the Association of Private Schools in Namibia, who suggested that the learners who cheated should be identified and given an ungraded mark for the examination instead of punishing everyone.

They further argued that teachers who were supposed to have marked the examination papers between December and January might not be released for the marking of the rewritten papers, as they are responsible for teaching other grades at their respective schools.

The Teachers’ Union of Namibia also condemned the decision, stating that the leak was due to negligence and poor planning.

The Students’ Union of Namibia told The Namibian that they were against the decision, as learners’ applications for university admission would be affected.

The ministry has promised that the results of the NSSCO examination will be out on time to ensure that this year’s grade 11 learners can begin their AS classes as planned.

“Although the learners will be writing in January 2022, the ministry is committed to allocating resources to ensure that the results for the NSSCO and NSSCAS levels will be released on the dates intended prior to the unfortunate event,” it said.

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