By Eliaser Ndeyanale
EDUCATION minister Katrina Hanse-Himarwa has said before her term of office comes to an end the grade 10 passing points would be raised from the current 23 to 27 points.
The minister’s term of office is expected to expire on March 20 2020 if President Hage Geingob does not reshuffle his Cabinet.
Currently Grade 10 pupils need to score 23 points to qualify for Grade 11 but that will soon change, according to the minister.
Speaking at the release of the 2016 Junior Secondary Certificate (JSC) exams results on Tuesday this week, Hanse- Himarwa said there was a serious consideration to raise the pass points. “We need a serious study before we make a final decision, we can’t keep on passing below the average. We have been stagnating for 16 years at 23 points. I know this issue is a sensitive issue if you are reading the Namibian community. There should be a change before my term (of office) comes to an end,” she said. Despite a public outcry and widespread criticism the minister is adamant that raising the Grade 10 pass mark from 23 to 27 should not scare the public, as it is not a new development. She urged Namibians to concentrate on the quality of education.
This year, only 21 291 pupils out of 38 240 candidates have qualified for admission to Grade 11.This represents a pass rate of 55.7 percent compared to 54.2 percent achieved in 2015 with Oshikoto region on the top followed by Oshana region, Omusati has kept its third position while Ohangwena also gained its fourth position. Zambezi region which was at position eight moved to six spot this year, Kavango West dropped from six to seven. Khomas , Omaheke, // Karas and Hardap performed dismally. Earlier this year when she made her first announcement on changing the points, she said that when the junior secondary certificate framework was introduced in 1994 it stated that pupils can only progress to Grade 11 with a minimum of 27 points but after realising that the system was still new, the minimum requirement was kept at 19 points.
She said it was realised in 1994 that a pupil who scored 27 points in Grade 10 was likely to have a huge chance of succeeding to Grade 12 with ease. According to her, lifting points from 23 points should not scare anybody as this is nothing new. In fact, the mark Government is progressing to is 27 points, she said.
Namibia National Teachers’ Union (Nantu) secretary general Basilius Haingura welcomed the minister’s decision to raise the passing rate but urged the Ministry of Education to start raising the points from grade 8.
“Twenty-seven good however, the ministry should start at the bottom, like from grade 8. That is the only way the results will improve,” he said.
The minister also said that learners who are 17 years and younger who have not qualified for grade 11 should be allowed to repeat grade 10 or should register with Namcol and other centres that are registered with the Ministry of Education, Arts and Culture to improve their exams or to enrol at vocational training centres.
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