Namcol plans to rebrand to change the poor public perception of the college.
The institution’s director Dr Heroldt Murangi said they will advertise a tender of expression of interest around next month and get a company to change Namcol’s look, feel and colours to attract young people.
Murangi mentioned this off the cuff during the Popular Democratic Movement (PDM) leader McHenry Venaani’s familiarisation visit to the institution with his delegation on Tuesday.
Speaking during a PowerPoint presentation, Murangi said there is a poor public perception about open and distance learning (ODL) and it is regarded as inferior. “People still think to be successful you need to be confined to the four walls of the classroom, which in my view affects the performance of learners. If you are at Namcol then someone says, you are at the institution of failures. That will demoralise you and could be one of the reasons why learners don’t go write their examinations because they think they are going to fail,” remarked Murangi, who pointed out that last year 10,000 subject entrants for Grade 12 did not turn up for examinations. For Grade 10, Murangi said, it was 4,600.
Murangi added that they are busy conducting a study on dropouts to find out why they register but don’t write the set examinations.
Murangi said another challenge they face is parental support, and Namcol is regarded as the least important. “It’s like the learners are rejected. Colleagues from the tutorial centre will call evening sessions with parents just for discussion and only one parent will turn up.”
Amongst other challenges, Murangi said, they want to attract more male learners as currently about 70 percent of learners are females. He also pointed out that there is insufficient support from stakeholders.
Furthermore, Murangi said, they have realised that people don’t understand the mandate of the institution, and currently they are running a campaign costing N$1.4 million across the 14 regions through radio and television just before the news to inform the nation why the institution was established.
“Many people think the institution was established for grade 10 and 12 failures.” He explained that their mandate is to contribute to the socio-economic development of Namibia by upgrading the education level of adults and out-of-school youth through programmes of open and distance learning, providing opportunities to Namibians to upgrade their professional and vocational skills as well their general education.
Namcol offers Junior Secondary Certificate (JSC), Namibia Senior Secondary Certificate (NSSC), Pre-entry to Tertiary Education (PETE) programmes and NQF level 3 to 8. It also offers technical, vocational education and training programmes (TVET).
Venaani said their visit to Namcol was about finding out real information, what Namcol’s real problems are, and where they are failing and moving.
Venaani said he regularly implores parliamentarians to say things on the platform of information, hence their visit to the institution.
“Our job is to find solutions and make our country accelerate. We can do that by engaging stakeholders and our visit here is born out of that context, to know how the institution is doing. Adult education is important. We have a problem of grade 10 and 12 failures, we want to know how are you servicing the people left behind by formal education. Critically, why are the students not progressing when they come to you? We want to know what programmes and new programmes are you are venturing into,” said Venaani.
This year Namcol has about 48,500 learners.