Namcol undeterred by new curriculum

BRANDON VAN WYK

THE Namibian College of Open Learning says the new school curriculum for junior and senior secondary schools will not have a negative effect on their operations.

Deputy director of programmes and material development at Namcol, Jan Nitschke told The Namibian this week that the institution has already started re-examining their mode of delivery after the new curriculum was announced last year. 

This new curriculum will have pupils who pass Grade 8 this year entering Grade 9, where they will from now on sit for the junior secondary school examinations. It also makes Grade 9 certificates equivalent to the current Grade 10 certificate.

Nitschke said there might be a short-term slump in Namcol's enrolment figures due to the new changes, but that he expects it to pick up once the new curriculum is in place.

“We have started to reduce the number of contact sessions,” he added.

Namcol has also implemented a block tuition system, where pupils can come in during school holidays.

Nitschke said this will help the growth of the institution, and allow them to have more control regarding their contact sessions with pupils.

He added that Namcol will continue with their two-year programme, in which all pupils are expected to take three subjects in their first year, and another three in the second year in order to graduate.

“I think this is the best system in the sense that if you have less subjects in a part-time mode, it makes it easier for pupils to pass them,” Nitschke noted.

He said they will also continue with this system in order to see whether in the long run, they should cut costs and eventually reduce the number of contact sessions.

Nitschke remained hopeful, although the new school curriculum may be tough.

“I really don't know if the new curriculum will help make it easier for pupils to pass. I think it will still be a challenge, especially in the early years,” he stressed.

Nitschke added that many pupils might find the new curriculum more difficult than the previous one. 

“This will especially be difficult for pupils because of the time frame in which they are required to complete this new curriculum, and this is where I think Namcol will have have to step in and support them,” he stated. 

Namcol will also be offering the old Grade 10 curriculum one more time in 2019. 

“We currently have an intake for the new year, which will commence on 14 January, and we expect between 10 000 and 13 000 applicants,” he continued.

This number, though, is not fixed as many pupils might remain in high school and decide to repeat their Grade 9 at their respective high schools instead.

The director of The University Centre for Studies in Namibia (Tucsin), Cliff Olivier, said his institution is also not affected by the new education curriculum.

“If we do not get enough pupils, then we can probably fill it up with those who are still in Grade 10,” he observed.

Tucsin generally only accepts pupils who wish to redo their Grade 12, with the exception of their Rundu campus, which takes in grade 10 pupils as well.

“This is going to be an opportunity for us to take in more pupils,” he said.