PDM slams 'abysmal' exam results

12 January 2018 | Politics

The Popular Democratic Movement (PDM) has slammed the low 2017 National Senior Secondary Certificate (NSSC) and Junior Secondary Certificate (JSC) results and said the billions pumped into the education sector were being wasted by inadequate leadership.

PDM's Nico Smit yesterday argued that the N$11.97 billion allocated to the education ministry last year warranted a better return on investment than the 3% increase in NSSC results announced recently.

“This is a deplorable return on investment, and one cannot help but question not only the effectiveness and quality of the public education system as a whole, but more specifically the competence of the leadership at the highest level of the public education sector,” Smit stated.

He said unless urgent help is extended to the thousands of 2017 learners who failed to achieve university admission results, they risk being “left destitute on the streets of Namibia.”

The PDM said the “abysmal performance” of the education minister “year after year has set Namibia on an unsustainable trajectory” that is crippling Namibia's ability to reach the goals of Vision 2030.

“How can one expect to reach the goals of Vision 2030 and the development of a knowledge-based society, when the Ministry of Education produces more failures than anything else?” the statement read.

Smit said the PDM is deeply dissatisfied with the fact that approximately 27 000 former Grade 10 learners and 13399 former Grade 12 learners did not pass their exams, leaving over 50 000 young Namibians at risk and likely to “face very little prospects of a decent future.”

He critiqued the fact that the ministry could not “reach its desperately low target of 45% admission to tertiary education”, which he said “bears testimony to the fact that the politically appointed leadership at the helm of the education ministry is hopelessly out of its depth.”

Smit demanded that the government should urgently lay out their plans, if they have any, of how they will intervene and assist the students left without university admission prospects.

He said it is crucial that the Swapo-led government also answer transparently what plans are on the table to accommodate learners who must repeat Grade 10 in 2018 as the majority of Grade 10 repeaters accommodated at NAMCOL in 2017 failed their exams, and must repeat the year again.

“It is our expectation that no such plans have been developed, as all eyes and minds would have been focused on the 2017 Swapo congress and the political survival of those in leadership positions.”

Smit said the education ministry's call on teachers to provide better quality teaching to students from Grade 0 to Grade 12 and of students to work harder was an attempt to “shift the blame.”

The PDM statement called on the education minister Katrina Hanse-Himarwa to step down “to make room for improvement in the education sector”.

“It is baffling that despite the spectacular failings of the education ministry and the utter disarray and chaos that characterises the public education sector, minister Hanse-Himarwa continues to enjoy the confidence of the president.”

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