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How Namibian grade 12 students performed over the past two decades

How Namibian grade 12 students performed over the past two decades

By HJ Sartorius von Bach.

In my last article, positive changes of the Namibian secondary education system were portrayed, which resulted from massive reform challenges to refresh education by introducing access, equity, quality and democracy; all necessary for human capital formation. The Cambridge system was used as it was believed that successful students would obtain an international senior secondary passport to progression and success. The real question to be answered is whether the secondary education system over the years was strengthened to produce qualified people to take up jobs for economic growth.

Therefore, a visual situation analysis of the grade 12 school output is portrayed, using NSSCH outputs. The system allows the maximum points for six subjects of 54, while the basic entrance requirement to an undergraduate degree is 25 points. In reality however, because of limited tertiary study places available, the required points to gain access is much higher, such as 33 points for a BSc or 37 points for a degree in medicine.

Since the national averages do not portray the real situation of secondary education, and specifically the NSSCH, a disaggregation of results of regional output is given. These findings are important to determine whether historic disparities were adjusted to accelerate human capital formation. Because of the volume of the data, a time series of randomly selected years were used to present absolute and relative changes. NSSCH student marks were grouped by regions, to determine the enrollment number, performance and regional distortion of performances.

National data shows that since independence, the access to secondary education increased significantly. The number of grade 12 enrollments for NSSCH alone increased from 904 in 1996 to 17,968 in 22 years. This is a twentyfold increase while the national population only grew annually by 3.8%. It can therefore be classified as a great achievement and the foundation for the formation of human capital.

National access to grade 12 education in Namibia from 1996 to 2018

Source: National Media holdings (2018) and

This aggregated increase in grade 12 students has to be compared to regional circumstances. Data shows that the percentage (number of grade 12 student divided by human population) increased significantly over time to almost reach the demographically maximum level. From the human capital perspective it is outstanding that access to higher level subjects increased more than the access rate of ordinary level subjects. Furthermore, it is interesting to observe that the highest NSSCH access rate was found in the regions Omusati, Oshana, Zambezi, Ohangwena, and Oshikoto, while the lowest access was found in Kunene, Omaheke and Otjozondjupa senior secondary schools. The enrollment during 2018 showed 3,433 NSSCH students from Omusati vs the low enrollment of only 46 Kunene grade 12 NSSCH students. To put this into perspective, the student enrollment in Omusati is 18 times better than Kunene, i.e. in Kunene only 1 student per 1495 citizens was enrolled for NSSCH, while in Omusati the enrollment was 1 student per 81 citizens.

On a national basis, the Namibian average NSSCH student total point declined from 20.47 to less than half over two decades. This worrisome trend together with increasing enrollment probably contributed to the high unemployment of the Millennials, which caused them increasingly to become disengaged and disconnected. This can be regarded as a national concern and requires high-level attention to increase the marginal performance levels since 2013.

To find the root of this trend, the paper analyzed regional averages to determine whether educational disparities were addressed during the past decades. As expected, the urban Khomas region did best, while rural regions distant to infrastructure development generally performed least. The regions where this worrisome trend is observed are Hardap, Omaheke, Erongo, Otjozondjupa, Oshikoto and Zambezi. Data also showed that the performance levels between regions are converging. Currently, the best region on average performed twice as good as the worst performing region, while two decades ago the best performing region was three times better than the worst performing one.

Regional average total student points during the past 2 decades

1 –  Kavango East did marginally better than Kavango West

Therefore, averages were disaggregated into three categories: poor performers, medium performers and top performers. Data provides a concerning trend, namely that the relative proportion of national non-performers increased during the past 2 decades and that national performers are becoming less by the year.

It is evident that general access to secondary education improved significantly, but unfortunately, data shows that the performance of secondary education as reflected in student points continued declining. Although some of the national educational goals are met, the regional disparities remain significant and need to be addressed. The assessment shows that further detailed monitoring of the educational outputs is required. It is necessary to determine whether the recently-announced changes to secondary education will contribute to the formation of human capital to relief structural unemployment in the long run.

An attempt is made in next week’s article to provide some reasons for the presented trends in this article.

About The Author

Helmke Sartorius von Bach

Helmke Sartorius von Bach is currently employed as professor at the Neudamm campus of the University of Namibia. He obtained his PhD in Agriculture Economics at the University of Pretoria in 1992 and became professor in 1994 at the age of 32 and headed the Department of Agricultural Economics, Extension, and Rural Development. He returned to Namibia in 1996, taking up full-time farming and part-time consulting as agricultural economist.His academic and theoretical background coupled with his practical and implementation experience allowed him to successfully lead the MCA-N Agriculture project as Director of Agriculture from 2009 to 2014. He continues to consult for both Namibian and international organizations on resource economics. Some of his recent work was done for USAID, Future Works and Urban Econ.

Sanlam 2018 Annual Results

7 March 2019


Sanlam’s 2018 annual results provides testimony to its resilience amid challenging operating conditions and negative investment markets

Sanlam today announced its operational results for the 12 months ended 31 December 2018. The Group made significant progress in strategic execution during 2018. This included the acquisition of the remaining 53% stake in SAHAM Finances, the largest transaction concluded in the Group’s 100-year history, and the approval by Sanlam shareholders of a package of Broad-based Black Economic Empowerment (B-BBEE) transactions that will position the Group well for accelerated growth in its South African home market.

Operational results for 2018 included 14% growth in the value of new life insurance business (VNB) on a consistent economic basis and more than R2 billion in positive experience variances, testimony to Sanlam’s resilience in difficult times.

The Group relies on its federal operating model and diversified profile in dealing with the challenging operating environment, negative investment markets and volatile currencies. Management continues to focus on growing existing operations and extracting value from recent corporate transactions to drive enhanced future growth.

The negative investment market returns and higher interest rates in a number of markets where the Group operates had a negative impact on growth in operating earnings and some other key performance indicators. This was aggravated by weak economic growth in South Africa and Namibia and internal currency devaluations in Angola, Nigeria and Zimbabwe.

Substantial growth in Santam’s operating earnings (net result from financial services) and satisfactory growth by Sanlam Emerging Markets (SEM) and Sanlam Corporate offset softer contributions from Sanlam Personal Finance (SPF) and Sanlam Investment Group (SIG).

Key features of the 2018 annual results include:

Net result from financial services increased by 4% compared to the same period in 2017;

Net value of new covered business up 8% to R2 billion (up 14% on a consistent economic basis);

Net fund inflows of R42 billion compared to R37 billion in 2017;

Adjusted Return on Group Equity Value per share of 19.4% exceeded the target of 13.0%; and

Dividend per share of 312 cents, up 8%.

Sanlam Group Chief Executive Officer, Mr Ian Kirk said: “We are satisfied with our performance in a challenging operating environment. We will continue to focus on managing operations prudently and diligently executing on our strategy to deliver sustainable value to all our stakeholders. The integration of SAHAM Finances is progressing well. In addition, Sanlam shareholders approved the package of B-BBEE transactions, including an equity raising, at the extraordinary general meeting held on 12 December 2018. Our plan to implement these transactions this year remains on track.”

Sanlam Personal Finance (SPF) net result from financial services declined by 5%, largely due to the impact of new growth initiatives and dampened market conditions. Excluding the new initiatives, SPF’s contribution was 1% down on 2017 due to the major impact that the weak equity market performance in South Africa had on fund-based fee income.

SPF’s new business sales increased by 4%, an overall satisfactory result under challenging conditions. Sanlam Sky’s new business increased by an exceptional 71%. Strong growth of 13% in the traditional individual life channel was augmented by the Capitec Bank credit life new business recognised in the first half of 2018, and strong demand for the new Capitec Bank funeral product. The Recurring premium and Strategic Business Development business units also achieved strong growth of 20%, supported by the acquisition of BrightRock in 2017. Glacier new business grew marginally by 1%. Primary sales onto the Linked Investment Service Provider (LISP) platform improved by 5%, an acceptable result given the pressure on investor confidence in the mass affluent market. This was however, offset by lower sales of wrap funds and traditional life products.

The strong growth in new business volumes at Sanlam Sky had a major positive effect on SPF’s VNB growth, which increased by 7% (14% on a comparable basis).

Sanlam Emerging Markets (SEM) grew its net result from financial services by 14%. Excluding the impact of corporate activity, earnings were marginally up on 2017 (up 8% excluding the increased new business strain).

New business volumes at SEM increased by 20%. Namibia performed well, increasing new business volumes by 22% despite weak economic conditions. Both life and investment new business grew strongly. Botswana underperformed with the main detractor from new business growth being the investment line of business, which declined by 24%. This line of business is historically more volatile in nature.

The new business growth in the Rest of Africa portfolio was 68% largely due to corporate activity relating to SAHAM Finances, with the East Africa portfolio underperforming.

The Indian insurance businesses continued to perform well, achieving double-digit growth in both life and general insurance in local currency. The Malaysian businesses are finding some traction after a period of underperformance, increasing their overall new business contribution by 3%. New business production is not yet meeting expectations, but the mix of business improved at both businesses.

SEM’s VNB declined by 3% (up 6% on a consistent economic basis and excluding corporate activity). The relatively low growth on a comparable basis is largely attributable to the new business underperformance in East Africa.

Sanlam Investment Group’s (SIG) overall net result from financial services declined by 6%, attributable to lower performance fees at the third party asset manager in South Africa, administration costs incurred for system upgrades in the wealth management business and lower earnings from equity-backed financing transactions at Sanlam Specialised Finance. The other businesses did well to grow earnings, despite the pressure on funds under management due to lower investment markets.

New business volumes declined by 13% mainly due to market volatility and low investor confidence in South Africa. Institutional new inflows remained weak for the full year, while retail inflows also slowed down significantly after a more positive start to the year. The international businesses, UK, attracted strong new inflows (up 57%).

Sanlam Corporate’s net result from financial services increased by 4%, with the muted growth caused by a continuation of high group risk claims experience. Mortality and disability claims experience weakened further in the second half of the year, which is likely to require more rerating of premiums in 2019. The administration units turned profitable in 2018, a major achievement. The healthcare businesses reported satisfactory double-digit growth in earnings, while the Absa Consultants and Actuaries business made a pleasing contribution of R39 million.

New business volumes in life insurance more than doubled, reflecting an exceptional performance. Single premiums grew by 109%, while recurring premiums increased by a particularly satisfactory 56%.

The good growth in recurring and single premium business, combined with modelling improvements, supported a 64% (71% on a comparable economic basis) increase in the cluster’s VNB contribution.

Following a year of major catastrophe events in 2017, Santam experienced a relatively benign claims environment in 2018. Combined with acceptable growth in net earned premiums, it contributed to a 37% increase in gross result from financial services (41% after tax and non-controlling interest). The conventional insurance book achieved an underwriting margin of 9% in 2018 (6% in 2017).

As at 31 December 2018, discretionary capital amounted to a negative R3.7 billion before allowance for the planned B-BBEE share issuance. A number of capital management actions during 2018 affected the balance of available discretionary capital, including the US$1 billion (R13 billion) SAHAM Finances transaction. Cash proceeds from the B-BBEE share issuance will restore the discretionary capital portfolio to between R1 billion and R1.5 billion depending on the final issue price within the R74 to R86 price range approved by shareholders.

Looking forward, the Group said economic growth in South Africa would likely remain weak in the short to medium term future, and would continue to impact efforts to accelerate organic growth. The outlook for economic growth in other regions where the Group operates is more promising. Recent acquisitions such as the SAHAM transaction should also support operational performance going forward.

“We remain focused on executing our strategy. We are confident that we have the calibre of management and staff to prudently navigate the anticipated challenges going forward,” Mr Kirk concluded.

Details of the results for the 12 months ended 31 December 2018 are available at