Windhoek-Former prime minister Nahas Angula says part of the challenge young people face, especially those in towns, is that once they secure jobs they find it difficult to divide time between their employment and learning.
Angula told New Era in an interview on Friday regarding the high rate of learner drop out experienced over the years at the Namibian College of Open Learning (Namcol).
It has also emerged that the majority of Namcol students are female, with their male counterparts lagging behind.
“That explains perhaps why boys are not really taking this opportunity seriously. When they get a job somewhere, they just concentrate on the job. We need to give Namcol more support systems to afford extra classes on weekends and holidays,” the former prime minister observed. Newly acquired Namcol facilities constructed to the tune of N$47 million were named after Angula.
Prime Minister Saara Kuugongelwa-Amadhila on behalf of President Hage Geingob officially inaugurated the facilities on Friday. Another challenge that Namcol management faces is learners who register for courses, but do not turn up to sit for their exams. Angula, who said he is was honoured to be named after the facilities, said open learning requires a lot of self-control and self-discipline to get confidence to go and sit for the examination.
“Learners who don’t show up for exams have social challenges such as pressure from their families to bring something on the table. So, sometimes it does not work out properly, especially when the construction sector was thriving, many young people went to construction to get jobs there. So, they don’t have time for Namcol, but they should be encouraged that they should remain a bricklayer for life. They should graduate from being a bricklayer to something else,” he said.
Angula maintained that Namcol was created to provide equal learning opportunities for Namibian children.
He urged Namibians to do away with the perception that Namcol is a dumping ground for Grade 10 and 12 failures.
Angula challenged that if it was not for Namcol’s existence, then what could have happened to the thousands of learners who do not make it in formal education.
“If the formal education rejects you, you can continue with Namcol. But it requires some commitment and discipline,” he reacted.
Namcol Director, Dr Heroldt Murangi, shared similar sentiments saying people think Namcol is for failures.
“Most people think Namcol has been created for Grade 10 and 12 failures. Even members of parliament who passed the Act think like that. We are not another high school. We want learners to study on their own through available platforms such as e-learning. There is a public perception about life-long learning. They think for you to have qualification, you must be confined behind walls. Some of us have qualifications through life-long learning,” he said.
Asked what he is doing now after retirement, Angula said he is involved in farming and in some charity projects. Currently, he said he is scaling up nutritional programmes among the rural poor Namibians.