By Frederick Philander
Unorthodox methods by non-registered educational service providers in senior grades, as well as a shortage of study materials for students at some centres, are two of the major problems currently faced by the Namibia College of Open Learning (Namcol).
This was revealed yesterday by Namcol’s director Heroldt Murangi, during a press conference in Katutura.
“Of late there has been an alarming mushrooming of non-registered educational service providers for learners in Grades 10 and 12. These entities seem to be doing as they please and claim to provide tuition to learners, but use unorthodox methods to get hold of Namcol’s study materials.
“They encourage learners to register with Namcol first in order to obtain study materials as well as to register for examinations with the Ministry of Education. This is not fair,” said Murangi, who identified such suspect institutions as being in the capital and in the north of the country.
According to him, a concern is that some learners could not be assisted at some enrolment points due to a perceived shortage of study materials.
“I must stress the fact that huge quantities of Grade 10 materials are still available at our enrolment points pending a final announcement regarding the issue of Grade 10 repeaters in formal schools. It does appear that many Grade 10 learners have decided not to enrol with Namcol, until such time a final announcement is made, expected this week,” Murangi said.
He said that at the moment Namcol is unsure and does not know which way it is heading with the Grade 10 issue.
“Namcol gets flak and pressure from all sides because of the uncertainty about the Grade 10 situation, which might have a negative impact on our enrolment. We will in all probability have to extend our enrolment deadline and perhaps have to refund learners should they not qualify to repeat Grade 10.
“However, we have the capacity to accommodate 15 000 more Grade 10s and provide them with study materials, if need be,” he said.
Namcol is already responding to the unforeseen increase in demand for study materials with assistance from the ministry of Education.
“An additional 1 000 study packs will be availed to enrolment points to cater for learners who could not be assisted thus far. The subject study materials for Grade 12 in agriculture, biology and mathematics have also been depleted primarily in urban areas.
“But some materials are still available at certain enrolment points in remote areas, but most of it cannot be retrieved before next Monday, the end of the enrolment period.
“Our regional staff have also been tasked to reposition study materials where there appear to be surpluses at some enrolment points,” he concluded.