Unam ready to assist Govt in tackling curriculum challenges

Kenneth Matengu

The University of Namibia (Unam) has declared its readiness to collaborate with the government in tackling challenges associated with the implementation of the new curriculum.

In 2018, the Ministry of Education, Arts and Culture rolled out a new curriculum, ushering in various challenges during its implementation, notably with the introduction of the Namibia Senior Secondary Certificate Advanced Subsidiary (NSSCAS) level.

This one-year course is designed to be covered in Grade 12, replacing the National Senior Secondary Certificate Higher (NSSCH) level.

Unam vice chancellor Kenneth Matengu says no education system is flawless, and significant challenges exist within the current framework.

“For that we wish to affirm our commitment to working with the ministry to address the major gaps in the implementation of the curriculum, especially the AS level, which requires critical thinking and higher-order analytics,” he says.

A key proposal put forth by Unam involves the establishment of a comprehensive reskilling and upskilling programme for teachers.

“We are ready to launch a reskilling and upskilling programme for teachers. We will also support the professionalisation of the teaching profession. We will discuss this with the ministry,” Matengu says.

SATISFIED WITH PASS RATE

Matengu has expressed satisfaction with the increased performance at AS level.

The education ministry on Wednesday revealed that in 2023, some 10 261 candidates, constituting 25,2% of the total of 40 682 full-time students, are eligible to advance to AS level.

This marks a 3,8% increase from the 8 133 candidates, or 21,4%, who qualified in 2022.

“This especially affirms our decision in 2021 that entry to university should be based on NSSCAS and NSSCO subject combinations,” Matengu says.

The number of pupils qualifying to proceed to AS level has doubled from 5 007 in 2021 to 10 261 in 2023.

“This means more and more pupils are opting to do AS. This is what this country needs. We are looking forward to enrolling these students once they have completed their AS level,” he says.

Unam officially opened the 2024 academic year yesterday, and Matengu said the university has extended the application period to next Friday.

Meanwhile, the International University of Management (IUM) also welcomes the increase in the pass rate.

“The improved performance is an indication that ordinary level and AS level curricula were not the real cause of the poor performance of students in the previous year, as alleged by some,” IUM chancellor David Namwandi says.

He says the 2023 examination results demonstrate a commendable enhancement in academic performance, underscoring the dedication and resilience of students and teachers.

“Resistance to change, especially when change is not properly communicated, is real, and it is likely to be rejected,” Namwandi says.

He says shedding light on the factors contributing to this improvement and recognising the efforts of both teachers and pupils would attract public interest.

Namwandi suggests that the ministry’s initiatives to retrain and empower teachers may have significantly influenced this positive outcome.
“I believe strongly that further capacitation of more teachers through soft skills programmes at various tertiary institutions would yield more notable examination results in the future and become even better.

“Education today is synonymous to upskilling and reskilling of professionals,” he says.

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