More challenges with school reforms

The new curriculum for senior secondary education in Namibia does not only impact academics.

07 January 2019 | Education

Changes to the senior secondary curriculum this year will not only impact that academics of schooling in Namibia.

School principals have expressed their concern over the practical implications and impact on school sport, for example, and moreover, the election of student councils and school farewells will also have to adapt to the new system.

“Two years ago I already asked what will happen to school sport,” one principal told Namibian Sun. “We are simply not getting answers and I get the feeling that they never thought of it or, it simply did not form part of their planning.” Official guidelines have not been issued by the ministry as yet.

“I took a look at the current results and in my estimation, I will lose somewhere between 50 and 60% of my first-team players,” the principal said. This group of sportsmen and –women will have to leave school in 2020 because in all likelihood, they will not qualify to follow the Namibia Senior Secondary Certificate Advanced Subsidiary (NSSCAS) in grade 12. To qualify, grade 11 learners must have at least three C symbols in the new Namibia Senior Secondary Certificate on ordinary level (NSSCO). “School sport will feel the impact in 2021 in the current under-19 leagues. They will become far less competitive,” the principal said. It is not clear whether these school leavers will join Namibian university teams of clubs. Should the impact be great enough, the under-17 leagues will become the top school leagues.

“We try to prepare our learners holistically for the future,” the principal said regarding sport. “Today, sport is also a career and when learners leave school at 17, they miss a large part of this preparation.”

Sollie Duiker of the Namibia Schools Sports Union (NSSU) could not be reached for comment.

Student councils

Another school principal conceded that they are very unsure regarding certain issues but will address these internally and make their own plans for the future. “We have constantly been asking these questions,” he said. One of these is the election of student councils. Grade 11 learners will have to be included in these.

“Which standards will we apply for the nomination of members of student councils?” one asked. “A learner is chosen but decides at the end of grade 11 to rather leave school for university. Then, we have open seats we must fill,” he said.

“I have no idea,” another said. “Do we now have two farewells, one for grade 11 and one for grade 12?”

Both principals also expressed concern over what they are to do with grade 12 learners who do not have class. Some of these learners will only follow three subjects.

“How will this impact discipline?”

According to the prescribed curriculum, NSSCAS grade 12 learners will have a seven-day cycle of nine periods of 40 minutes (six hours) for each exam subject. NSSCO grade 10 and 11 learners will have eight periods of 40 minutes (5.3 hours) for their exam subjects and nine periods for English. A learner only has to take three subjects, along with two support subjects and this implies 25 off periods in a cycle, or, almost half of the school day.

“As teachers, we are adaptable,” one principal said. “We will sort out these things.”


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