Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Education, Arts and Culture Sanet Steenkamp says examination registration dates for Grads 10 and 12 will not be extended despite mounting calls by learners and parents to do so.
Speaking to The Patriot in a brief interview this week, Steenkamp said learners lacked the sense of “urgency and respect for due dates”.
“There are specific learners and parents that don’t adhere to or respect the due dates at all, while there are others on the other side who make sure that their children register on time,” Steenkamp charged.
Steenkamp said the ministry made use every resource available at its disposal to educate and inform the public on registration dates.
“We spent thousands of dollars educating and informing, we used all the media to indicate when the due dates are.
“In the meantime the Directorate of National Examination (DNEA) and Namcol have been continuously been informing learners about the dates, it is not true that the children were not informed,” stressed Steenkamp.
Steenkamp further questioned why learners had to wait until April in order to register when they received notification for examination in February.
As things stand, the Ministry is not looking to extend examination registration dates in order to cater for those learners who are yet to register.
“This year will be the second consecutive year that we will not be extending the due dates. We cannot extend it at all. Learners had enough time from the February to the 5th of April.
“There were posters printed, it (due date) was in the electronic media, it was sent to schools, it was well covered just like in the previous years, we cannot open now to re-register” she said.
The statement by Steenkamp means that learners who did not register for examinations before or on 05 April (due date) are set to miss this year’s examinations.
When asked why the Ministry is unable to grant learners the opportunity to register, Steenkamp said: “We work with processes, we are working in a system where if at one given point something is not completed then the next process gets hampered,” she noted. Additionally, Steenkamp pointed out that learners could not be enrolled and registered in a once-off because registration and enrolment are two “distinct” processes. “It’s two different processes and its different people working with it,” she responded.
On the contrary, learners’ have their backs against the walls as their hopes of improving their results were dealt a blow by the Ministry’s decision not to extend the examination due date.
In an interview with The Patriot, Anton Tjipepa, a grade 12 learner who is set to miss this year’s grade 12 Namibia Senior Secondary Certificate (NSSC) exams in November is pleading to the government to re-look into the situation saying he was “misguided” by Namcol.
“In the study materials I received, there was a notice which read ‘period for examination registration JSC and NSSC February – April’, just for me to hear that the due date (05 April) has passed.
“I don’t know whose fault it is because the letter said ‘February-April’ without any dates, therefore my understanding was that registration will go on until the end of April,” lamented Tjipepa.
Last year, Tjipepa obtained 23 points in five of his best subject, two short of university entry (25 points) and was hoping to improve this year.
“My hopes are now dashed, I don’t know what to do. I am calling on the Ministry to re-look into this issue and give us a second chance, a year wasted is one too many,” pleaded Tjipepa.
Another learner who finds herself in a similar predicament as Tjipepa is Rino Tjomazeva who said her future was “doomed”.
“My future is doomed because the information we were given never showed a specific date, it just said February – April, how can this mean that the due date is the 5th of April?
“I am so disappointed and I don’t know what to tell my parents, it will be sad to sit and watch as my fellow learners will be writing exams and improving their symbol while I just sit here,” bemoaned Tjomazeva.
Tjomazeva has 19 points in five and is only six points short of the university required minimum of 25.
However, Namcol Marketing Manager Rholene Bok said the open learning institution made use of all available media outlets to inform learners of the specific “examination registration dates”.
Bok accused learners and parents of not “reading” Namcol’s prospectus which contains important dates.
“When learners register with Namcol every year, they received a small booklet which is issued by the Ministry of Education (examination booklet). The booklet contains all important dates including the due date of examination registration.
“We discovered that learners do not read, they don’t read the prospectus to see what is in there regarding examination, they also don’t read the little examination booklet that they receive upon registration (enrolment),” charged Bok.
However, Bok acknowledged that there exists a possibility that their information may not reach each and every learner registered with Namcol.
“I don’t want to say we are not guilty, maybe are guilty for not reaching each and every person because we have more than 40 000 learners.
“But learners know that the onus is upon them to make sure and receive all the reminders and notices. However, a lot of them wait until the last day, now they want to come and want to blames us (Namcol),” added Bok.