Teacher shortage affects learner performance
Minister of Education, Arts and Culture Katrina Hanse-Himarwa has tasked a team to engage the Namibia Student Financial Assistance Fund (NSFAF) to consider certain subjects areas as priority for awarding loans or scholarships to prospective students, interested in furthering their studies in priority fields.
This comes after it emerged that in subjects, such accounting, arts and design and keyboard and word processing, as well as African languages, teacher shortages are being experienced and this is negatively affecting learners’ performance.
The education minister emphasised the importance of having a sufficient number of qualified and committed teachers in the system.
The Ministry of Education analysed learner performance in subjects by looking at subjects in which they performed better this year, worse, as well as subjects in which there were no significant changes in learner performance in 2016 compared to the performance of full-time candidates in the 2015 Junior Secondary Certificate (JSC) Grade 10 exam.
Minister Hanse-Himarwa noted that poor performance was recorded in accounting, history, integrated performing arts, visual arts, English first language, Afrikaans first language, Khoekhoegowab first language, Otjiherero first language, Thimbukushu first language, German foreign language, French foreign language and keyboard and word processing.
She said the relatively high percentage of ungraded candidates in accounting in 2016 (20.8 percent) compared to 25.2 percent in 2015 still remains a matter of concern, which should be attended to in all regions this year.
“The ministry has noticed the persistent high percentage of ungraded candidates in accounting over the past years, although there has been a slight decrease from 25.2 percent to 20.8 percent in 2016,” she noted, adding that regional education offices are urged to put more effort into improving performance in this subject.
Surprisingly, learners performed better in 12 other subjects, including priority areas, as higher average marks were obtained, meaning higher percentages of candidates obtained better grades, while fewer candidates were ungraded compared to 2015.
This the minister applauded, saying it is an encouraging sign. These subjects include agriculture, computer studies, additional mathematics, physical science, geography, home economics, mathematics, design and technology, needlework and clothing, entrepreneurship, Portuguese foreign language and life science.
As for those who did not meet the required 23 pass mark in Grade 10 for admission to Grade 11, the minister advised them that there are various ways that such candidates can be accommodated in the education sector.
Out of 38 240 candidates who wrote their Grade 10 exams in 2016, 21 291 qualified for admission to Grade 11 in 2017, representing 55.7 percent of the learners compared to the 37 441 full-time candidates who registered for the Grade 10 examinations in 2015 when only 20 318, (54 percent) proceeded to Grade 11 in 2016.
The minister urged learners who failed to register with part-time centres, such as Namibia College of Open Learning (Namcol) and other centres registered with the Ministry of Education to upgrade their marks.
Learners who did not make the grade are also encouraged to register with vocational training centres through the Namibia Training Authority to improve their vocational skills. About 2 430 candidates in the 2016 Grade 10 exams, who are 17 years and younger, will be allowed to repeat in 2017.
In 2015, 3 432 learners were allowed to repeat Grade 10 in 2016 and of these 2 258 qualified for admission to Grade 11 this year. This, the minister said, is commendable.