Minimising household chores for learners, increasing teachers, parents and learners meetings and establishing study groups are all seen as measures to improve learners’ academic performance in the Kunene Region, especially Grade 12 learners.
This was recommended by Namibia Students Financial Assistance Fund (NSFAF) chief human and corporate affairs officer Olavi Hamwele during a three-day regional roadshow last week in Opuwo, Outjo and Khorixas.
Hamwele’s recommendation comes after the Fund established that learners in Kunene Region have benefited the least countrywide from the NSFAF over the past five years.
Despite the fact that many learners completed Grade 12 and are potential candidates for vocational training, statistics of the uptake of students from the region are also very low.
A glance at Grade 12 enrolment figures over the past five years shows that in 2012 no less than 6 694 learners were awarded bursaries countrywide, but only 78 learners from Kunene Region were in that group.
During 2013 there were 8 953 beneficiaries, but only 51 came from that region. Similarly, in 2014 a total of 5 544 learners benefited from the Fund countrywide, but only 27 learners from Kunene received grants or bursaries. During 2015, a total of 6 339 students were awarded funding countrywide, but only 42 from Kunene benefited. In 2016 about 6 674 students benefited countrywide, but only 69 learners from Kunene were included in that number.
“The output is not that good, as we want especially those who meet the requirement for funding to pursue studies at institutions of higher learning and this is a concern,” remarked the NSFAF corporate affairs officer.
Hamwele explained that during a town hall meeting with community members in June, it was discovered that parents in Kunene Region are not very involved in the education of their children. Thus, he encouraged parents to make time to help their children with their homework and to show interest in their schoolwork by asking whether they have done their homework or asking what they were taught at school that particular day.
“Parents should minimise household chores, so that learners can have the opportunity to do their homework. That’s the only way they can pass and perform better,” he noted.
Hamwele added that teachers are critical, as they are the ones who can establish whether the learners are performing well or not. He, therefore, proposed more frequent meetings between teachers, parents and learners.
“If a teacher can establish that a particular learner is performing poorly, it is the responsibility of the teachers to arrange a meeting with the parents and the learner to understand what is causing the particular problem.”
He feels there is a need for study groups among learners, especially during their pre-exam period. In addition, Hamwele said every learner in the region who has made it to Grade 12 is a candidate for vocational education and training, because they have passed Grade 10.
He noted that the number of awards offered to students in the region is very low and added that students qualify for vocational training if they score at least 22 points in six subjects in Grade 10.
“Where are those learners who have gone through Grade 12, because every learner who has made it to Grade 12 can be admitted in vocational training? Where are they? They are not in institutions of higher learning. Can we track these learners through the directorate of education? If they are on the streets, let us regroup and send them to vocational training next year,” he advised.
Hamwele says they want a different Kunene come January 2017 when the Ministry of Basic Education releases the exam results.
Kunene Governor Angelika Muharukua, who accompanied the NSFAF team on the three-day promotional tour to Opuwo, Outjo and Khorixas also realised that her region is under-represented when it comes to learners accessing the fund. The governor encouraged teachers, parents and learners to take education very seriously.
The mandate of the NSFAF is to provide funding to qualifying candidates, who would like to pursue studies beyond Grade 10 and 12, either at vocational training centres or institutions of higher learning.