New curriculum for schools
Plans are at an advanced stage to introduce a new curriculum for both primary and secondary schools, Education Minister Dr David Namwandi has said.
In an interview with the Economist after officially releasing the 2013 Namibia Senior Secondary Certificate Ordinary Level results, Namwandi said a draft curriculum has already been handed over to Cabinet for approval.
A product of education experts from the UK, Zimbabwe, Kenya, Singapore and China working in collaboration with officials from the National Institute for Educational Development (NIED), Namwandi said the new curriculum will place equal emphasis on vocational as well as academic training.
He said:“The review has already been finalised, it is just a matter of Cabinet to approve it. Once it is approved, I will announce it.”
The minister said the current curriculum is more academic oriented than vocational, a scenario he said must not be allowed to continue.
“We have to consider both [vocational and academic courses] because this country needs technicians.
When you look at the developed countries, they were built by technicians, by people with vocational and technical skills so we want to move that way.”
The minister added that not all students in secondary schools can go to university. “There are those that, not because they are stupid, are not interested in academic related issues, all they want is to do things with their own hands.”
Ministry of Education Chief Public Relations Officer Johanna Absalom told the Economist that the introduction of a new curriculum will be done in phases starting with lower primary in 2015.
She said the curriculum has been revised to bring in more relevance to what is taught in schools in line with the needs of the country while also benchmarking it to international norms.
“The Junior Primary phase review has been completed and training and material development will be taking place this year to be implemented in 2015.
The Junior Secondary phase syllabuses are currently under review by Curriculum Panels and NIED officials.
For the Senior Primary phase: All promotion subjects’ syllabuses have been approved while the non-promotional subjects’ syllabuses will be tabled for approval early this year,” Absalom said. Meanwhile, Minister Namwandi said his ministry is working on improving the time it takes for national examinations to be finalised by markers.
The minister was responding to complaints that it takes long for Namibian national examinations to be finalised compared to other countries like South Africa despite Namibia only having a fraction of students compared to that country where results are released earlier than here. In response, the minister said: “We are improving, we are working on that one, but we must also appreciate that this year we have released the results earlier than expected. At least we are improving compared to previous years, but we will continue to work on that. Remember also that our moderators come from outside the country, they are based in the UK so they work with their own schedule, but we will try to see how best we can improve.”