By Reagan Malumo
The only hope for a large number of Grade 12 school dropouts in Caprivi Region – the Namibia College of Open Learning (Namcol) – is unable to absorb all applicants.
It cites a lack of sufficient study materials as the reason. In addition, Namcol does not have classroom place for Grade 12 repeaters.
New Era has also learnt that many of the learners only flocked to Namcol for registration on the last day of registration (March 03) as many of them could only get money at month-end.
But after the payday of February, the learners were informed all the places had been filled and were turned away.
“We are very much stranded because we did not register with Namcol and we also do not have jobs,” confirmed one learner.
She said that she could not register earlier due to lack of funds and that she only managed to get money at the end of February.
It was also revealed that affected learners who could not register are mainly those taking science and commercial subjects. Namcol was their only hope.
The other alternative is the Institute for Open Learning (IOL), which according to them is expensive.
Meanwhile, a ban on the sale of livestock in the region due to foot-and-mouth disease has worsened the situation and makes it difficult for most parents in the region to pay their children’s school fees.
Most parents in the region depend heavily on livestock which they sell beginning of each year to pay the school fees of their children.
Namcol registration officials at various registration centres have also confirmed that more learners could not register and that supplementary registration could not take place due to lack of study materials.
Although Namcol officials in the region could not give information or statistics on learners who registered and those who did not, they have admitted many learners are stranded and have had to be turned away due to lack of study materials.
Meanwhile Namcol director Heroldt Murangi has confirmed that his office was not informed of the situation on the ground at Katima Mulilo and that if he had been informed, some provisions would have been made. He advised all affected learners to launch their complaints with his office for assistance.
Murangi further said it is a pity that some learners did not register and stressed that Namcol was also working within the limits of available resources.
He said that available study materials were printed based on the projection of previous Namcol enrolment. And thus Namcol could not accurately predict as to how many learners were to fail Grade 12 examinations and seek registration.
Some learners in the region further complained of the few registration centres available in the region. They stressed that a lack of enough centres in the region makes it difficult for learners, especially those residing in rural areas that travel long distances to enroll at Namcol. They called on Namcol to extend the registration period to accommodate those who could not register, and to open more centres.