‘Not up to you’

The higher education minister has told state-owned universities to admit grade 11 learners, who are being rejected left, right and centre.

04 March 2021 | Education

TUYEIMO HAIDULA







ONGWEDIVA

Higher education minister Itah Kandjii-Murangi says institutions of higher learning should embrace grade 11 school-leavers and not act as if the public institutions are their private property.

The minister was speaking to Namibian Sun on Monday during a visit to see how northern campuses have been coping with Covid-19.

She said state-owned universities and vocational training centres have no choice but to absorb grade 11 learners, as agreed at the 2011 education conference.

If the grade 11 learners are not admitted into higher learning institutions and are not allowed to repeat the grade, they will end up on the street, she said.

“No public institution can sit on the fence. Not this time. We need all hands on deck. We need to perfect this system.

“My plea is that we embrace the grade 11s and be active participants in monitoring, evaluating and assessing the impacts of these reforms and advise government accordingly,” Kandjii-Murangi said.

Find ways

The minister rubbished claims that institutions were not consulted about the new system, saying nothing happens with regard to education reform without involving all stakeholders.

Kandjii-Murangi said it was unfortunate that those who were part of the negotiation process now pretend they had not been consulted.

"We only have one education system. There is no way any major reform like the one the basic education ministry is undertaking will have happened without the involvement of all the upper levels,” she said.

“Some of those at the Namibia University of Science and Technology or the University of Namibia might not have been holding those positions [at the time], but as responsible institutions, decisions that are taken by our predecessors we need to honour.

“I am heading this ministry, it’s not my ministry. I was appointed to make sure I meet the needs of the Namibian people in the sector of higher education. I cannot come and change things that are put in place. So, they have to find ways to accommodate these learners,” she said.

No space

Unam vice-chancellor Kenneth Matengu recently stated the university’s position on admission of grade 11 learners.

He said grade 11 is ranked as a level three qualification, while Unam’s entry requirement is level five.

The university only has space for 5 000 to 7 000 new students and received over 21 000 applications for this academic year, he said. Efforts to get hold of Matengu this week proved futile.

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