Unam education students furious over changed grades

Simon Namesho

Some University of Namibia (Unam) education students are fuming after the university allegedly changed their academic statusesmultiple times since last year.

They told The Namibian at the end of the 2023 academic year, their academic, statuses reflected that they passed but this year they were surprised to find out that this had changed to indicate they failed.

One of the students who did not want to be identified due to fear of victimisation said Unam failed to offer English for Teachers 2 in her second year and she was told to complete it in her third year.

“This was supposed to be a second year module that was to be offered in the second semester. This then added a backlog of modules and I ended up failing it.”

Despite the fail grade, her promotional status indicated that she passed her third year in December last year.

“Our statuses changed four times, which is very frustrating, because we have even registered for our fourth year modules because the status was indicating a pass. When we enquire, we are always told they will sort it out while it keeps changing. Now apparently we must cancel our final year modules, which is unfair.”

The students say after the December indication that they passed, in February this year it changed to fail and then it changed back to pass in March.

“Last Tuesday, the statuses changed to fail again. Imagine how traumatising this is. Allowing us to register for our final year modules and now we must cancel them? Why not allow us to add that failed module to our fourth year modules?

“I am funded by the Namibia Students Financial Assistance Fund. I must now lose my loan because of a module that costs N$1 000 dollars?”

Another student said that the debacle has affected him mentally after telling his parents and friends that he passed and is now in his final year, just to be told he failed.

“We have even done our research topics, proposals and assignments, with some due.”

He said they will now be forced to pay for the cancelled fourth year modules. “It’s not our fault, it’s theirs. They must cancel the modules without us paying and allow us to add these modules to our final-year ones. We can’t fail a year because of a single module.” Another student questioned the fairness of some students who previously failed a module in their first year being allowed to complete it in their fourth year.

“We know of students who have done this before and are graduates now. Why can’t we be given the same privilege?”


Responding to students’ complaints, Unam spokesperson Simon Namesho said the university is aware of the concerns raised by education students regarding the fluctuations in their promotional statuses.

Namesho said the problem lies in the misapplication of the academic advancement rules at certain campuses.

“To move from the third to the fourth year, students must have passed all their first and second-year modules and a significant portion of their third-year courses.”

Namesho said a distinct challenge arose for students articulating from the Diploma in Junior Primary Education (DJPE) to the Bachelor of Education (B Ed.) programme.

“These students, due to their articulation, were faced with a significantly heavier workload in their third year compared to their non-articulating peers. While typical B.Ed. students would tackle 13 modules in their third year, the DJPE articulating students were required to manage 23 modules during the same period.”

This placed a substantial burden on the DJPE students, impacting their ability to successfully complete all courses, particularly the English for Teachers 2 module.

“Recognising this unique challenge, the university granted a special concession allowing these students to advance to the fourth year despite not completing this specific module. This decision was taken to ensure that these students, who were already dealing with an accelerated and intensified curriculum, were not disproportionately disadvantaged.

“Unfortunately, this well-intentioned provision was misapplied to the regular B Ed. students, leading to the observed inconsistencies in promotional statuses.”


Namesho said Unam is working to rectify the misapplication of the advancement rule.

“For non-articulating students who cannot progress due to a failed module, the standard rule applies, requiring them to pass the module before advancing. Articulating students have been granted a special exception, allowing them to move to the fourth year.

“If students have outstanding modules from these years, they are required to complete them before progressing. Although they might be allowed to take some fourth-year modules concurrently, their official status would still reflect a failure to advance from the third year until all requisite modules are completed,” he said.

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