Dream of Own Scientists Still a Long Way By Frederick Philander WINDHOEK Namibia’s national educational hopes and dreams to one day produce its own scientists will in all likelihood remain a pipe dream and a unfulfilled wish for some time, judging from the outcome of this year’s HIGCSE national examination results. Candidates countrywide will formally know the results today. According to a lengthy press statement from the Directorate of National Examinations and Assessment, the only candidate that sat for Chemistry was, on a 1 to 4 scale, ungraded and one of the only two candidates that sat for Physics was also ungraded. The statement makes it clear that both Chemistry and Physics are only taught at private schools and not at government educational institutions. It is general knowledge that since the implementation of the Higher International General Certificate of Secondary Education (HIGCSE) from the United Kingdom, a shortage and lack of qualified teachers and the necessary teaching facilities such as laboratories have hampered proper teaching of science subjects in Namibian schools. However, according to the press statement, there is hope in the science subjects presently being taught in government schools. Of the 554 candidates who sat for the Physical Science examinations countrywide, only six candidates were ungraded, in essence meaning that they have miserably failed. The Directorate of Examinations and Assessment further reported that only four of the 753 candidates who wrote Biology were ungraded and that of the 480 examination candidates in Mathematics, seven were ungraded. Statistics in the evaluation report show that a total of 3 463 candidates sat for the examinations, written at 51 government senior secondary schools, representing an increase of 293 or 9,2 percent compared to 2004. “HIGCSE was designed to comply with university and Technikon admission requirements. However, it is not at this stage possible to tell how many candidates qualify for admission because their HIGCSE and IGCSE results will have to be combined to determine whether the graded candidates qualify or not,” reads the statement in part. The IGCSE results are only expected on January 23 next year. A Grade 3 or better symbol in four subjects is required in a HIGCSE subject for entry to Unam and South African universities. “On that basis 75,8 percent of the subject entries have met this minimum requirement, ” the report further expressed the Directorate of Examination and Assessment’s veiled satisfaction. Only 5,6 percent of the total entries of candidates were ungraded, while 94,7 percent of the candidates obtained a Grade 4 or better. It considers the tendency as slightly better than the previous year. The report stresses that the 2005 results compared to 2004 show an improvement to the extent that the percentage of graded candidates increased with 1,3% for this according to the report, “demanding examination”. Geography was the subject that yielded the poorest results, while there was a significant improvement in subjects such as Art and Design, History, Design and Technology and Economics compared to 2004. Outstanding and prize-winning performances by individual candidates have also been delivered. Two female and three male candidates have been awarded national prizes. These candidates are: Bruh Ayele of St Paul’s College for best overall performance on aggregate score (N$1 815); Johan Maasdorp of Windhoek High School, best performance in six subjects (N$910); Tanya Schemmer of the Deutsche HÃƒÆ’Ã†’Ãƒâ€ ‘ÃƒÆ’Ã¢â‚¬Â ‘ÃƒÆ’Ã†”Ã…Â¡ÃƒÆ’Ã¢â‚¬Å¡Ãƒâ€šÃ‚Â¶here Private Schule (N$910); Mark Volkmann of Namib High School, best performance in five subjects (N$910) and Estelle Alberts of Grootfontein Senior Secondary School, also for best performance in five subjects (N$910). The same directorate also announced the Grade 10 results, written by 30 059 full-time and 12 300 part time candidates. “There has been a shift away from ungraded and the lower grades to the average and higher grades, an indication of an improvement in the performance of the 2005 candidates. The 1 percent increase to 92,6 percent in the graded entries is the highest percentage obtained so far,” the report reckons. All the results will be available at regional offices of the Ministry of Education as from 08h00 this morning. They will also be available on the website of the Directorate of National Examinations and Assessment at www.dnea.gov.na, which will become active at 08h00 this morning.
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