Steenkamp was responding to questions send to her by The Patriot yesterday on the poor performance by some Kunene schools in the region, namely Kaphas Muzuma School and Otjerunda Combined School (CS).
Basic Education Minister Katrina Hanse-Himarwa released this year’s Grade 10 results and Kunene Region was one of the regions that performed poorly.
Kephas Muzuma School and Otjerunda CS are respectively located about 130km and 25km South-East of Kunene region’s capital, Opuwo.
Out of 30 learners who sat for the 2016 JSC full-time examinations at Kephas Muzuma School, none of them were able to meet the requirements to advance to grade 11. The highest learner at the school got 18 points, five points short of the required 23.
Similarly, out of the 18 learners who set for the 2016 JSC examination at the Otjerunda CS, only one learner was able to meet the requirements to advance to grade 11 with 26 points.
According to Steenkamp, the above mentioned schools offered Grade 10 examinations for the first time. Steenkamp said the two centres (Kephas Muzuma Scool and Otjerunda CS) were opened this year to cater for learners in the region who could not be admitted at other schools due to unavailability of space.
Steenkamp pointed out that lack of “experienced teachers and indiscipline by learners” at those schools were some of the factors that may have contributed towards the poor performance in the grade 10 results.
However, even though they failed to yield satisfactory results, mechanisms were put in place to assist both schools from the education directorate, according to Steenkaamp.
“Interventions were done to assist these schools (Otjerunda CS and Kephas Muzuma School), text books were provided and learners attended holiday classes,” said Steenkamp.
Moreover, a co-teaching exercise was put in place to allow teachers from other good performing school within the region to teach at Otjerunda CS and Kephas Muzuma School during weekends.
“Co-teaching weekends with experienced and well-performing teachers were organised and schools were visited by senior education officers and inspectors to assess their progress,” added Steenkamp.
The education director said that an analysis will be conducted to identify main challenges and causes of high failure rate in the region.
As a consequence, Steenkamp added that an action plan will be compiled and implemented to address the high failure rate in Kunene. She also encouraged stakeholders to join in order to address in the region.
Steenkamp congratulated the schools that performed well and called on the “not so” good performing to work hard to meet the desired levels.
Oshana’s success secret
On the other hand, Education Deputy Director of Oshana Gerhard Ndafenongo attributed the region’s success to the passion displayed by teachers who “strive to inspire learners” to perform to the best of their ability.
Ndafenongo cited the leadership demonstrated by school principals in Oshana and the involvement of school board members as key to region’s performance in 2016.
Furthermore, Ndafenengo said a culture of hard work had been instilled in the learners from onset.
‘The teachers in the region strived so hard to groom learners in realizing their potential from lower grades,” said a cheerful Ndafenongo.
Also, Ndafenongo added that other regions can learn from Oshana’s yearlong preparation programme to improve their results.
“These (year-long preparation) include holiday classes whereby schools make arrangement for learners to be taught during the holiday,”
“In addition, schools undertook exchange programmes to share best practices (ideas, expertise and human resources) to improve performance,” added Ndafenongo.
Echoing the words Ndafenongo, top performer in Oshana Paulina Hambata from Charles Anderson Combined Schools says studying ahead of time was the recipe for her success.
“I started studying before school had started and by the time we got to school, I was ahead of my class mates by a week,” said Hambata.
According to Hambata said learner fail due to “lack of preparation and lack of self-motivation”. Another reason for failure according to Hambata is associating with the wrong people.
“The wrong crowd would then influence their behavior throughout the year which would lead them to having to repeat grade 10,” added Hambata.
Hambata’s advice for next year’s grade 10 learners is to have faith in themselves and to start studying from the word go.
“They (learners) should not wait for their teachers to announce that the next day there is going to be a test before the start studying,” advised Hambata.
This year, 38 240 Full-time Grade 10 candidates sat for the national examinations. The Ministry has kept since 2000 the minimum points at 23 and F grade as a minimum symbol in English for admission to Grade 11 in 2017.
Out of 38 240 learners, only 21 291 have qualified for admission to Grade 11 in 2017, representing 55.7% of the candidates who have qualified for Grade 11. This year, 11 109 part-time grade 10 candidates were enrolled with the Namibian College of Open Learning (NAMCOL) whilst 626 part-time candidates were enrolled with various distance education institutions registered with the Ministry of Education. In total 11 735 part-time candidates were registered for 2016 national examinations.
Meanwhile, at a media briefing this week Hanse-Himarwa encouraged those learners who failed to meet the promotion targets to register with part-time centres such as NAMCOL and other centres that are registered with the Ministry of Education to improve their subject symbols.
“Candidates are encouraged to register with Vocational Training Centres through the Namibia Training Authority to improve their skills in vocational education and training,” said Hanse-Himarwa.
In contrast, when compared to the previous year, the 2016 pass rate improved with a meagre 1.4 per cent. In 2015, 37 441 learners wrote examination, 20 318 passed while 17 123 failed. This year however, 38 240 learners wrote the examination, 21 291 learners passed and 16 949 learners failed.
The four northern regions (O-Regions) continue to dominate the entire nation in grade 10 examination results. They are, in their order Oshikoto (1), Oshana (2), Omusati (3) and Ohangwena (4). They are followed by Kavango East at number five while Zambezi moved up two places to finish at number six.
Kavango West dropped one place and is sitting at number seven while Erongo, who also moved a place down finds itself in position eight. Kunene and Otjozondjupa remain unmoved in positions nine and ten respectively.
The bottom four include Khomas (11), Omaheke (12), //Karas (13) and Hardap at 14.