Saturday 17 April 2021
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Government’s exam registration U-turn

Government has granted special consideration to allow learners to register late for the grade 10 and 12 national examinations slated for later this year. the decision comes days after the ministry asserted that those who failed to register within the set timeframe will not be given accorded a lifeline. The Ministry of Education, Arts and Culture will now allow grade 10 and 12 part-time candidates who failed to register during normal registration period for the 2017 national examinations to register through a special registration process that will run from 24 April to 28 April.
In a letter seen by The Patriot this week, Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Education, Arts and Culture Sanet Steenkamp gave a directive to all Regional Education Directorates with “space” to accommodate unregistered grade 10 and 12 part-time learners.  The decision by the education ministry to make provision for late examination registration comes a week after Steenkamp made it clear that learners lacked the sense of “urgency and respect for due dates”, as such no extension would be granted. “The Ministry of Education, Arts and Culture herewith grants special consideration for the late registration of grade 10 and 12 part-time candidates as from 24 April to 28 April.  Regional Directorates of Education, Arts and Culture that still have space to accommodate the Grade 10 and 12 part-time candidates who did not register during the normal registration period of 2 February to 5 April are advised to register such candidates,” directed Steenkamp on Tuesday.

She added: “All part-time learners who did not register for the 2017 National Examinations during the normal registration period should therefore ensure that they register as from the 24 April to the 28 of April at any part-time centre provided there is space for such candidates,” noted Steenkamp. However, Steenkamp pointed out that the ministry is left to deal with serious cost “implications and challenges” in an event that it extends examination registration dates. “It is imperative that candidates be cognizant of the serious implications and challenges encountered in the administration and the conducting of the 2017 National Examinations. “Although granted, the extension of the registration period will have an impact on the printing and release of the 2017 results, which is also associated with cost implications in this regard,” she lamented. “The Ministry therefor urges candidates to, in the future, register within the normal registration period.

Consequently, Steenkamp urged learners to “in the future” register within the normal registration timeframe in order to avoid implications and costs that result from extending the registration process. “Regional Examinations officials must ensure that the registration forms are received at the Directorate of National Examination and Assessment by 5 May,” concluded Steenkamp. Steenkamp’s statement last week left hundreds of unregistered learners with their backs against wall as their hopes to improve their grades and making it to tertiary institutions had been dealt a blow. Steenkamp reiterated at the time that examination registration would not be extended despite mounting calls by learners and parents to do so. Steenkamp said there are specific learners and parents that do not adhere to or respect the due dates whereas others made sure that their children registered for examinations during the normal registration period. Steenkamp said the ministry made use every resource available at its disposal to educate and inform the public on registration dates.

At the time, Anton Tjipepa, a grade 12 learner who was set to miss this year’s grade 12 Namibia Senior Secondary Certificate (NSSC) exams in November told The Patriot that he was “misguided” by Namcol with regard to the examination registration dates. “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,” Tjipepa lamented at the time. 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.  Had the ministry not reversed its decision not allow late examination registration, Tjipepa and many others in a similar situation would have had to wait at least until 2018 to improve their results.  “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,” bemoaned Tjipepa at the time.

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