School drop-outs at all time high

07 February 2021 | Education

While Namibia has nearly achieved universal primary education, with over 85% of children who enrol for grade 1 completing grade 7, the country still struggles to keep children in school until they reach grade 12.
This according to the United Nations Children’s Fund (Unicef) country representative Rachel Odede speaking at the launch of a report on the review of the Namibian Examination and Assessment System last week.
The report is a partnership between Unicef and the Ministry of Education, Arts, and Culture (MoEAC) and focuses on how children’s performance has developed over time and how it is likely to develop in the future. It also analysed how continuous assessment is performed at schools and the relationship it has with the national examination system, including the influence of socio-economic standings of a child and the psychosocial factors on education attainments.
Odede said the report was commissioned to address issues surrounding challenges faced by the education ministry of high dropout and failure rates among learners at different levels with a number of students repeating grades.
She noted that for instance, in 2019, 19.9% of grade 1 learners repeated that grade, while 39.3% of learners repeated grade 9 in the same year.
Unicef, Odele said, will therefore continue to work with the MoEAC to put mechanisms in place to bring back to school children who have dropped out.
Due to Covid, the number of learners dropping out increased to at least 15 000 learners who reportedly have not yet returned to school.
MoEAC executive director Sanet Steenkamp, who spoke at the same event, called on members of the public, parents, community leaders, and councillors to help the ministry bring back to school all learners and ensure that they finish their studies.
She said that the ministry is working at ensuring that resources are in place to assist those children and even remove them from the environments that make it hard for them to get back in schools. – Nampa

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