Windhoek-New Era Publication Cooperation (NEPC) chief executive officer Dr Audrin Mathe has joined the call of many Namibians for government to increase funding to the Namibian College of Open Learning (Namcol).
Increased funding for Namcol would allow the institution to accommodate more Grade 10 and 12 repeaters, he said.
This year alone, the future of many Grade 10s and 12s who failed to make the grade hangs in the balance following the college’s announcement that it would not be able to accommodate most of them due to limited resources and capacity.
Mathe addressed learners as a guest of honour during the opening of Namcol’s academic year for 2017 last Friday.
Speaking at the event, he said the college should be commended for having registered so many students despite the serious financial constraints it faced. Namcol has registered over 40 000 learners countrywide, but it can still not place many learners due to limited resources and capacity.
“We need to encourage government to support the institution more so that the many students who are on the streets can then have access to education.
“If you look at the current situation, Namcol does not have centres in all the towns. Ideally, we want most towns to have centres so learners do not have to travel to other towns,” Mathe said.
The Permanent Secretary of Education, Arts and Culture Sanet Steenkamp recently said Grade 10 and 12 repeaters who failed to secure places at Namcol could also make use of private learning institutions.
Currently Windhoek alone has 12 registered and approved private tutorial and examination centres registered to offer lessons for Grade 10 and Grade 12.
However, a number of people who were turned away from Namcol said they could not afford expensive private colleges.
Some of these tutorial centres allegedly charge up to N$15,000 or more. Mathe noted that Namibia currently faces a serious skills deficit.
He called on learners at Namcol to take their studies seriously so that they could make a meaningful contribution to society.
In his opinion, people should not think of going to Namcol as the end of life, because many Namcol graduates were productive citizens of Namibia.
Mathe made a commitment to the current intake that the best student, who excels with a higher than 75 percent pass rate, will receive N$5000 from his own pocket for registration at university next year.
Namcol is a state owned educational institution created by an Act of Parliament (Act 1 of 1997) to provide learning opportunities for adults and out-of-school youth.