Grade 11s cannot enrol for Unam degree courses

16 February 2021 | Education

Wetumwene Shikage

On Thursday, 11 February, the University of Namibia (Unam) and its council held a press conference to enlighten learners about the stance of Unam’s position on the admission of grade 11 (NSSCO, level 3) pupils to the university.

Unam fully embraces and supports the reform made by the government of Namibia to be adopted into the country’s education system. The university wishes to ensure that the reform fulfils its purpose and mandate accordingly. This reform is deemed fundamental for any country to develop while fulfilling developmental objectives.

Unam vice-chancellor Professor Kenneth Matengu said it is important for the university to align with the new reform and adjust the systems to align to the current national development goals and international competitiveness.

“Back when the university’s entry options were established in September 1992, the entry points were meant to assist Unam in accommodating the reality on the ground for those who may not have otherwise qualified for university post-independence and ensure that entry points are gradually improved,” he said.

He added that over the years, the institution has incorporated bridging courses and after 21 years of existence it now needs to move its entry-level equivalent to that of its peers, both regionally and internationally.

What seems to be an issue in many reports of the system is the quality of education and its need for the curriculums to be reformed. Reviews have called for the need for curriculums that would assist the country in moving forward to see how the reformed education systems would align to the skill deficit and improve the return on investments made by the government.

The vice-chancellor said if the need for improved performances of school leavers is not addressed adequately now, our higher education institutions would need to increase number of bridging and foundation courses to better equip students for entry into higher education. These are costly procedures.

He says that this is not the purpose of universities. Universities are supposed to produce mid- to high-level skills, human resources that are competent for a country to sustain itself.

The stance of Unam in the admission of NSSCO students remains restrained. This is because the university believes that the legacy programmes do not adequately prepare learners for university studies. Universities require learners to apply the knowledge they have. NSSCO is a level 3 qualification, AS is a level 4 qualification and entry for Unam B degrees is level 4. The result of taking in learners from level 3 qualification will bring about a lot of challenges. The university’s stance on the matter is indeed in line with what the cabinet has approved.

Unam’s acting registrar, Dr Hilkka Ndjaula, outlined the university’s admission requirements for the year 2022 - 27 points which will be a combination of two subjects in AS and three subjects in NSSCO with a C or higher in English.

Alternatively, learners must obtain 27 points, a combination of three subjects in AS and two subjects, D or higher symbol, NSSCO level with a C symbol or higher in English. Learners with more subjects in NSSCO will still have options to enrol at Unam, but only for diploma and certificate courses. Those learners should obtain 23 points on the Unam scale, two subjects on AS and three in NSSCO with a D symbol in English.

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