The Namibia National Students' Organisation (Nanso) says the 2018 matric results are worrying and very concerning.
This comes as only 9,524 pupils out of 23,594 who sat for last year’s Grade 12 examination qualified for tertiary education.
Speaking at a press conference in Windhoek on Thursday, NANSO’s national secretary for education, training and research, Efraim Ndalipo Paulus said NANSO is worried about the pass rate which is below the national development target.
“While interpreting the 2018 results, one must therefore look at which regions, circuits, and schools are succeeding and which ones are falling further and further behind. We call upon the Ministry of Basic Education, Arts and Culture, to release statics covering all areas of inequality such as rural vis-à-vis,” he said.
He added that the 2018 matric results evidently demonstrate the student organization’s long held critical view of the unequal basic education system, which he said reflects class, gender and racial inequalities and contradictions, that have been manifested through the performance patterns and trends.
“The 2018 matric results also reveal regional inequality in terms of performance, as most central or urbanized schools have better access to resources and infrastructure.
“This is evident in the fact that schools in Khomas, Otjozondjupa, Oshikoto and Erongo regions have better quality results as compared to rural schools that are under-resourced as a result of access to higher level subjects and experienced teachers, while the other school are poor, many of which are challenged with no access to equipped libraries, textbooks, hostel accommodation, water, electricity and or sanitation,” Paulus said.
Paulus explained that matric performance over the last five years illustrates massive inequalities within education in Namibia, saying rural regions such as Ohangwena and Zambezi have the most under resourced and poorest schools.
“They have a high number of schools without water, electricity or sanitation. As a result, they also consistently record pass rates well below the national average,” he said.
On the other hand, he said regions like Erongo performed better than the average.
“This is to be expected, with less of their schools lacking water, electricity or sanitation and the best teacher to learner ratios in both primary and secondary schools,” Paulus said.
“The differing and unequal education system between economic classes perpetuates racial inequalities. Class, race and inequality are interconnected in Namibia. Education is supposed to offer a way out of poverty for future generations, transforming existing patterns of inequality in Namibia. Instead, our school system intellectually dispossesses learners who attend poor schools – exacerbating our legacy of educational injustice and inequality.”
Speaking during the organisation’s examination results review, Paulus also warned politicians to stay out of the organization’s operations, which he said was apolitical and was there mainly to advance the interest of students.
“NANSO is not for sale and should not be used as proxy to fight political and personal battles of individuals and factions. We reject to be used for political expediency. NANSO remains apolitical and under the current national executive committee it shall remain as such because we receive our mandate from the students and learners, and our only highest guiding bible is our constitution.
“For that reason, we warn our members, structures and branches, that they should not mix their political views with organizational affairs and student issues. And whoever will be found doing so will be dealt with according to our disciplinary policy and code of conduct,” he warned.
He added that NANSO is aware of some people who have mobilized for resources to advance political ambitions of politicians and influencers to lead uninformed and illegitimate campaigns.
“The student leaders remain resolute in that history will absolve them and remember them as the generation of NANSO that refused to sell the organization to university owners and politicians, to achieve ulterior motives, using genuine student issues to secure leadership positions, jobs and study opportunities,” Paulus said.
“We call on our NANSO members never to be used…own yourself and your thoughts because at the end of the day, you are only left with your conscious. We must teach our young people the principles of loyalty, discipline, hard work and commitment to achieve anything. If we (National Executive Committee) have to suffer and be persecuted for not selling this organization and for owning ourselves, then so be it,” he said but he refused to mention the names of the politicians interfering in NANSO’s affairs saying he is not at liberty to do it.