Still trapped in mediocrity

The matric class of 2017 has achieved a pass rate of nearly 40%, but serious concerns remain over thousands who are unable to meet university requirements.

11 January 2018 | Education

Nearly 61%, or 13 459 of the 22 091 full-time Grade 12 learners who wrote the 2017 Namibia Senior Secondary Certificate (NSSC) exams did not qualify for admission to tertiary institutions this year.

Meanwhile, 8 632 full-time candidates (39.3%) qualified for entry into universities or other higher learning institutions, just 0.7% shy of the 40% target in line with the National Development Plan 5.

Education minister Katrina Hanse-Himarwa said for those who did not achieve the points necessary to study at higher education institutions, alternative learning opportunities are available.

“Improving their subject grades on part-time basis, joining skills training centres or the job market, becoming entrepreneurs to be self-employed and more.”

Overall, 56 305 candidates, of whom 34 214 were part-time students, wrote their NSSC ordinary level exams in 2017, an increase of 9.3% from 51 527 in 2016 to 56 305 last year.

The minister said that of the 22 091 full-time candidates, 93.7% of the entries were graded compared to 93.3% in 2016, an increase of 0.4% in graded entries.

Moreover of the 34 214 part-time candidates, 81.1% of the subject entries were graded in 2017, compared to 78.5% in 2016.

Further, the overall performance in key subjects failed to achieve targets set per the NDP5 for full-time learners scoring a D or better.

An average of 29.8 was achieved in English second language, below the target of 30%, while 41.7% was achieved in Mathematics, below the target of 47%.

In Physical Science, the average score of a D and higher was 46.1%, below the 49% target.

In terms of best performing regions, the top region with the highest accumulative percentage performances at Grade D and above in English second language was Erongo with 74%.

Kavango East took the top spot in Physical Science with an accumulative percentage of 66%, and Ohangwena led in Mathematics with a general score of 49.9%.

Achieving 40.9% with the highest accumulative percentage in Biology, Kavango West took the top spot and also in Agriculture, with a 65.6% accumulative percentage.

An achievement of 53.9% put Omusati at the lead in Accounting.

The average accumulative achievements in all regions, for select subjects, was 29.8% for English second language, 41.7% for Mathematics, 46.1% for Physical Science, 31.5% for Biology, 55.9% for Agriculture and 45.1% for Accounting.

“It is high time that we start moving away from this mediocrity and start to look at our contributions towards the regional performances,” the minister said, adding that looking at regional performance levels would highlight the gaps and could lead to regions learning from each other.

She said it was time regional education directorate started emulating high-performing regions by reaching out and asking for assistance.

She urged them to “twin up teachers, schools or even regions in subject areas for collaboration to facilitate improvements.”

She added that regions that don't do well pull down high-performing regions and that it is time to “strive for better outcomes.”

Hanse-Himarwa pointed out that 2018 will be a year for reckoning, and that teachers, starting from Grade 0 to Grade 12 are not exempted from having to take stock of their part in disappointing exam results.

“The results speak to the pre-primary and primary teachers too, because it tells me that somebody somewhere somehow failed to lay down a solid foundation for a child. So we need to do a collective reckoning as teachers from Grade 0 to Grade 12.”

She further urged parents to give their best to support their children.

“The government is indebted to parents who fulfilled their tasks as primary educators for their guidance and support. However, more support is needed to enable more leaners to succeed in their school career,” she said.


The top three government schools registered for the NSSC ordinary level exams were Rukonga Vision School in Kavango East in first place, Reverend Juuso Shikongo Secondary School from Oshikoto in third place, and Negumbo Senior Secondary School from Omusati came third.

Delta Senior Secondary school achieved the fourth spot out of 153 government schools, while Oshana-based Gabriel Taapopi Secondary School was ranked fifth.

Out of the 35 private schools, St Boniface College in Kavango East again took top spot, followed by St Paul's College in Windhoek at second place, and Elcin Nkurenkuru High School in Kavango West in third spot.

Swakopmund Private School took fourth spot and Oshigambo High School achieved fifth place.

All top ten candidates are St Boniface College graduates.

Nationally, Muupa Kabajani from St Boniface was the highest performing candidate of the class of 2017, achieving 87.6%.

Among the boys, her classmate Paulus Iyambo took the lead with an 86.9% overall score.

The top two state school performers were Trendy Masule with a total score of 81.6% and Marichen Heibes with a top score of 81.2%.


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