By Petronella Sibeene
Swapo Party Regional Coordinator for Omaheke, Festus Ueitele, has requested the Director for Education in that area, Natalia !Goagoses, to urgently organise a regional consultative education conference that will evaluate the poor performance of schools in Omaheke.
The call for the urgent symposium comes after the region’s Grade 10 performance dropped from eight to 13 in national ranking.
The Swapo coordinator urged all stakeholders, especially parents, to start showing interest in their children’s education.
He called on local and regional authorities, village councils, traditional authorities and business communities to join hands with school principals and teachers for the betterment of learners’ performance.
Ueitele questioned the role of the Regional Education Forum and its strategic plan for last year. He said the forum should also account for the disappointing change in national ranking of the region from number eight in 2006 to 13 in 2007.
Ueitele also urged the youths to prioritise education.
He attributed the high failure rate among Grade 10 learners in Omaheke to uncontrolled alcohol consumption close to schools.
He says one of the main contributing factors to the poor performance among learners is the uncontrolled and ever-increasing numbers of shebeens in Omaheke.
Ueitele said time has come for regional, local, municipalities and law enforcement agencies to closely monitor the enforcement of the Liquor Act including the age restriction and operating hours of shebeens.
Although learners’ performance fails to impress, the Namibian Government invests almost eight percent of the Gross Domestic Product, or about 27 percent of the national budget, annually on education.
However, the returns of knowledge and skills compared to the expenditure have been poor.
The Government pumps N$3 billion into education annually.
Despite that, the system has failed to provide the quality and quantity of output required to provide a base for higher-level human capital development especially at senior secondary level.
Statistics show that the pass rate for Grade 10 continues to be between 45 and 48 percent.
Grade 10 performance for 2007 stands at 47.6 percent.
In 2006, in 2007 45.5 percent of learners qualified for admission into Grade 11, a decrease of 0.8 percent compared to 2006.
Experts in education have said failure to observe and act on what seems to be an abnormal situation in the current education system is not only an insult to the nation but also a catastrophic and blatant disregard to the political ideals set upon achieving independence.
The philosophy of education, curricula, disciplines and the content of the current system should be redressed if Namibia strives for a knowledge and skilled-based society, commented the Secretary General of the Namibia Teachers Union (Nantu), Basilius Haingura.
The high failure rate, according to the Minister of Education, Nangolo Mbumba, could only be tackled if the quality of teaching at secondary level is improved and learners aspire to go to university. Undoubtedly, education is a demanding and challenging but very important entity, which plays a pivotal role in economic development of the country.
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