New IEB structure

The migration to the Namibian Senior Secondary Certificate (SSS) SSS, which is completely independent of the NSC, will have to take place over a period of three years.

02 March 2021 | Education

Henriette Lamprecht and Mariselle Stofberg



The new curriculum for Namibian schools following the Independent Examination Board (IEB) system is comparable to the Namibian Senior Secondary Certificate (SSS) at Advanced Intermediate Level (AS).

This is according to the National Examination, Evaluation and Certification Board (NEACB).

According to Henry Mc Carthy, the IEB principals' representative in Namibia, Universities South Africa (Usaf) has, after evaluation, confirmed that a candidate who obtains the Senior Secondary Certificate (IEB) meets the minimum requirements for degree studies at any public and private tertiary institution in South Africa.

He emphasised that if Namibian schools write the first SSS (IEB) examination next year, a large part of the examination for all subjects currently offered in Namibia would be “substantially the same in order to enable pupils to do as well as pupils who have written the IEB (NSC) exams in previous years”.

"The appearance and structure of the paper may differ here and there but will largely be the same as what our (IEB) pupils are used to. That was (and is) the agreement with the NEACB and the IEB,” he says.

According to McCarthy, it would be unfair to expect teachers and pupils to master a whole new curriculum within six months.

"The migration to the SSS, which is completely independent of the NSC, will have to take place over a period of three years. This was (and is) the agreement with the NEACB and the IEB. IEB is therefore here to stay,” he said.

McCarthy emphasised that IEB is simply undergoing a transformation from the IEB National Senior Certificate (NSC) to the IEB Senior Secondary Certificate (SSS).

He further says that Namibian IEB schools are currently in talks with the National Qualifications Authority (NQA) and the ministry of education, arts and culture about each role player's responsibilities regarding the accreditation and quality guarantees of the new curriculum.

According to him, the schools in Namibia who follow the IEB system have, with the recommendation of the NEACB and with the support of the ministry, sent a letter to the South African Department of Basic Education to extend the phasing out of the IEB (National Senior Certificate).

“This was done to give us time and leeway if the successful implementation of the Senior SS (IEB) takes longer than planned,” he said.

Structure of the new Senior Secondary Certificate (IEB)

“By design, the qualification is comparable in demand to Level 4 (Advanced Subsidiary Level) and includes subjects which, by design, are equivalent to the IEB’s Advanced programmes. The SSC may be achieved at one of three levels which include SSC, SSC with Merit and the SSC Advanced,” McCarthy adds.

Fact box

The SSC with Merit is comparable to Advanced Subsidiary Level with entry to degree studies.

The SSC Advanced includes subjects that are the same as the IEB’s Advanced Programme subjects or designed to be comparable in demand to the Advanced Programme subjects; those subjects were evaluated as comparable to Advanced i.e. A-level by UK NARIC.

The IEB intends to have the SSC evaluated by UK NARIC.

The qualification structure

“Students are required to study a minimum of six 20-credit or 36-credit subjects, as well as at least one 10-credit subject from the Competences for Lifelong Learning (CLL) options, resulting in a minimum of 130 credits for the SSC qualification,” McCarthy said.

While a student must offer a minimum of six subjects as well as one Competence for Lifelong Learning subject and a minimum total of 130 credits, a student may offer more than the minimum number of subjects and the minimum number of credits.

Language requirements

A student of the SSC must offer a Primary Language and an Additional Language. In addition, the Language of Learning and Teaching (LOLT) must be offered at either the Primary Level or Additional Level.

“The LOLT s are currently Afrikaans and English. Other languages could attain the status of LOLT s should there be sufficient demand, teaching resources and given that the environment is sufficiently supportive to provide students with a viable pathway to further learning both locally and internationally,” McCarthy said.

The remaining subject options in the SSC are grouped as follows:

1. Mathematics, Science, IT, Technology and Engineering

1.1. Mathematics is grouped as follows:

a. Technical Mathematics (for access to NIMT)

b. Quantitative Methods (AS-level)

c. Mathematics for Further Studies (AS-level)

d. Mathematics for Further Studies (Advanced Programme or A-level)

1.2. Sciences are divided as follows for example:

a. Technical Science (for access to NIMT)

b. Physical Sciences (AS-level)

c. Physics for Further Studies (AS-level)

d. Physics for Further Studies (Advanced Programme / A-level)

e. Chemistry for Further Studies (AS-level)

f. Chemistry for Further Studies (Advanced Programme / A-level)

2. Arts and Humanities

3. Commerce and Services

Further studies (FS) programmes

In addition, the SSC aims to provide opportunities for students with a range of interests and abilities. Available as part of the qualification are a number of Further Studies (FS) programmes.

FS Mathematics (Ordinary level) is a 30-credit subject and FS Mathematics (Advanced level) is a 36-credit subject offering while FS English and FS Afrikaans programmes are offered in conjunction with the Primary Languages - their credit value is also 36, made up from 20 credits for the language at Primary level with the addition of 16 credits for the FS component.

These FS programmes are academically more demanding and provide for in-depth exploration of the discipline that requires additional time, hence the increased credit value.

The SSC not only offers a variety of subjects that acknowledge different levels of interest and capabilities; it also provides a range of subject options in arts, commerce, humanities, languages, mathematics, services as well as in science, technology and engineering. The flexible structure of the qualification allows students to select from these options with a minimum of constraints.

One of the features of the SSC is a set of optional 10-credit programmes which aim to expose students to a range of immediately relevant learning experiences that build both academic proficiency and affective social competence. Known collectively as Competences for Lifelong Learning (GCLL), the basket of options will include:

· Academic Research Process

· Active Citizenry

· Digital Literacy

· Elementary Level languages

· Collaborative Problem Solving

· Work Readiness.

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