The EFA 2000 Assessment: Country Reports Homepage of the World Education Forum
   Namibia
Contents of country report Homepage of country reports Country reports listed alphabetically Country reports by region



Previous Page Next Page



Indicator 12 Repetition rates by grade.

High repetition rates were identified in the early nineties as a major source of inefficiency in the Namibian education system, and it was decided to introduce measures to reduce repetition. As indicated in Table 16, the 1992 repetition rate for Grade 1, for example, was 32.2%. It decreased to 8.1% in 1995, but increased again to almost 14% in 1997. Most other grades had gradual decreases in repetition rates. – A repetition policy introduced in 1994 stipulated that learners were allowed to repeat a grade only once in each school phase. This policy limited the number of repetitions in Primary to two, once in Lower Primary – Grade 1 to Grade 4, and once in Upper Primary – Grade 5 to Grade 7. This policy caused the large drop in repetition. The effect of this repetition policy on achievement was not monitored on a national basis, as Namibia had no national examination for any primary grades. The SACMEQ II survey scheduled for the year 2000 was expected to allow a comparison of English reading comprehension between 1995 and 2000.

Table 16: National repetition rates 1992 – 1997 by Grade

Year

Grade

Gd 1

Gd 2

Gd 3

Gd 4

Gd 5

Gd 6

Gd 7

1992

32.2%

24.5%

21.7%

23.7%

22.0%

17.3%

19.5%

1993

32.1%

24.1%

20.2%

24.0%

22.2%

14.9%

19.6%

1994

22.1%

16.1%

12.9%

19.8%

18.5%

14.4%

17.5%

1995

8.3%

14.4%

12.1%

18.7%

16.6%

10.7%

13.9%

1996

12.1%

9.4%

11.3%

17.2%

11.8%

9.4%

10.9%

1997

13.7%

11.4%

11.6%

16.1%

12.2%

8.6%

10.2%

Source: EMIS Division, Ministry of Basic Education and Culture, Namibia

Figure 13: National repetition rates 1992 – 1997 by Grade

Table 17: Repetition rates (average Grades 1 – 5) by sex

Year

1992

1993

1994

1995

1996

1997

Total

25.9%

25.3%

18.1%

13.8%

12.4%

13.1%

Male

27.7%

27.3%

19.4%

14.9%

13.7%

14.8%

Female

24.1%

23.3%

16.8%

12.6%

11.0%

11.2%

Source: EMIS Division, Ministry of Basic Education and Culture, Namibia

Figure 14: Repetition rates (average Grades 1 – 5) by sex

More males than females repeated in primary grades. This phenomenon could not be explained. The 1995 SACMEQ study did not show a statistically significant difference in achievement in English reading comprehension between male and female learners in Grade 6.

Comparing the regional repetition rates – Table 18 – there was a large drop in repetition rates for the first five grades except in the Katima Mulilo region where there had been only a small change in the repetition rates.

Table 18: Repetition rates (average Grades 1 – 5) by region

Year

Education Region

Katima Mulilo

Keetmanshoop

Khorixas

Ondangwa East

Ondangwa West

Rundu

Windhoek

1992

15.2%

15.4%

19.8%

28.7%

32.4%

26.2%

16.2%

1994

15.6%

12.6%

12.7%

19.3%

21.2%

18.7%

14.2%

1997

14.1%

7.5%

8.0%

15.0%

14.8%

14.7%

8.9%

Source: EMIS Division, Ministry of Basic Education and Culture, Namibia

Figure 15: Repetition rates (average Grades 1 – 5) by region

Indicator 13 Survival rate to grade 5 (percentage of a pupil cohort actually reaching grade 5).

The survival rate indicates the percentage of learners that would stay in school until they reached at least Grade 5, or what other grade had been specified. The indicator is based on the promotion and repetition rates of two consecutive years only, and should thus be interpreted as ‘if the flow rates remained constant for all grades, then the said percentage of learners would stay in school until they reached at least Grade 5’. As such, the indicator is sensitive to extraordinary changes in learner progression characteristics.

The national statistics for indicator 13 show a remarkable improvement between 1992 and 1997. In 1992 the survival rate in grade 5 was 63.3%. By 1997 this figure had improved to 84.3%. The improvement was mainly a result of the lower repetition rates. The education system had been able to provide to a large in the resultant demand for places in upper primary grades and, in the later years, junior secondary grades. The higher repetition rates of male learners, coupled with higher dropout rates of males (Table 20) resulted in the lower survival rates of males compared to females reported in Table 19. While the female survival rate increased from 68% to 87% over this period, male rates increased from only 59% to 82%.

Table 19: Survival rate to grade 5 by sex: 1992 – 1997

Year

1992

1993

1994

1995

1996

1997

Total

63.3%

76.8%

72.6%

75.6%

83.1%

84.3%

Male

58.8%

73.9%

69.5%

72.2%

79.0%

81.6%

Female

67.8%

79.8%

75.8%

79.1%

87.3%

87.0%

Source: EMIS Division, Ministry of Basic Education and Culture, Namibia

Figure 16: Survival rate to grade 5 by sex: 1992 – 1997

Table 20: Total dropout rates for Grades 1 – 5: 1992 – 1997

Year

1992

1993

1994

1995

1996

1997

Total

8.3%

4.9%

6.4%

6.1%

4.2%

4.2%

Male

9.2%

5.3%

7.1%

6.9%

5.2%

4.8%

Female

7.5%

4.4%

5.7%

5.3%

3.2%

3.5%

Source: EMIS Division, Ministry of Basic Education and Culture, Namibia

The regional survival rates in Table 21 all, but the rate of Katima Mulilo, show moderate to great improvements. Among the historically advantaged regions, Windhoek Region showed an increase in its survival rate from 92% in 1992 to 95% in 1997. Ondangwa East had an increase from 48% in 1992 to 86% in 1997. In interpreting the rates, it should be kept in mind that all indicators on learner flow, including survival rates, are influenced by migration. The high rates reported for the Khorixas and Windhoek regions may have been inflated by learners who moved to these regions.

Katima Mulilo was the only region that had a decrease in its coefficient of efficiency over the reporting period. This indicator was linked to a relatively high dropout of learners – or emigration from the region – and repetition rates that were among the highest in the country. In 1996, however Katima Mulilo had a survival rate of 102%. A possible reason for this can be due to migration into the region or possible under reporting of the in-transfers.

The incorporation of the Walvis Bay area in 1994 resulted in an extraordinary increase of learner numbers in the Khorixas Region, inflating the 1993 survival rates. This rate was omitted from Table 21 and the accompanying graph.

Table 21: Survival rate to grade 5 by year and Region 1992 – 1997

Region

Year

1992

1993

1994

1995

1996

1997

Total

63.3%

76.8%

72.6%

75.6%

83.1%

84.3%

Katima Mulilo

80.8%

89.2%

87.7%

78.5%

102.0%

72.2%

Keetmanshoop

84.1%

92.7%

82.3%

90.6%

91.8%

94.1%

Khorixas

80.3%

See note

81.5%

84.6%

90.7%

91.4%

Ondangwa East

47.6%

62.4%

68.9%

68.7%

80.4%

85.7%

Ondangwa West

64.0%

74.5%

73.4%

78.9%

82.2%

87.0%

Rundu

46.3%

59.1%

52.5%

58.9%

66.0%

64.4%

Windhoek

91.7%

91.9%

86.0%

89.2%

98.8%

95.1%

Note: Due to the incorporation of schools in the Walvis Bay area in 1994, no proper survival rate could be calculated for Khorixas for 1993.

Source: EMIS Division, Ministry of Basic Education and Culture, Namibia

Figure 17: Survival rate to grade 5 by year and Region 1992 – 1997

Indicator 14 Coefficient of efficiency (ideal number of pupil years needed for a pupil cohort to complete the primary cycle, expressed as a percentage of the actual number of pupil years).

As with indicator 13, there were significant increases in the coefficients of efficiency during the period between 1992 – 1997. The national coefficient of efficiency was 48.1% in 1992, and improved to 65.5% by 1997. As expected, considering the lower repetition and dropout rates of females, the coefficient of efficiency was consistently higher for females. Figure 19 indicates that the coefficient reversed in the favour of males only in the Katima Region. It remained lower for females in the Rundu region, with the gap having become smaller. These two regions were generally known for a traditional gender bias in favour of males. – All regions, but Katima Mulilo, had a increase in the coefficient of efficiency.

Table 22: Coefficient of efficiency 1992 – 1997

Year

1992

1993

1994

1995

1996

1997

Total

48.1%

57.4%

55.6%

59.4%

65.6%

65.5%

Male

46.3%

55.1%

53.7%

56.9%

62.2%

62.5%

Female

49.9%

59.6%

57.5%

61.8%

68.9%

68.5%

Source: EMIS Division, Ministry of Basic Education and Culture, Namibia

Figure 18: Coefficient of efficiency 1992 – 1997

Table 23: Regional Primary Coefficients of Efficiency: 1992 and 1997

 

1992

 

1997

Region

Total

Male

Female

 

Total

Male

Female

Total

48.1%

46.3%

49.9%

 

65.5%

62.5%

68.5%

Katima Mulilo

69.5%

68.1%

70.8%

 

56.1%

56.4%

55.6%

Keetmanshoop

55.2%

51.5%

58.8%

 

69.9%

67.0%

73.0%

Khorixas

54.8%

56.5%

53.3%

 

77.6%

74.3%

80.8%

Ondangwa East

37.9%

35.9%

39.9%

 

58.2%

54.3%

61.9%

Ondangwa West

44.1%

39.0%

49.0%

 

67.3%

61.5%

73.1%

Rundu

37.3%

45.0%

29.7%

 

53.8%

58.0%

49.5%

Windhoek

66.3%

63.2%

69.3%

 

80.0%

77.4%

82.5%

Source: EMIS Division, Ministry of Basic Education and Culture, Namibia

Figure 19: Regional changes in the Primary Coefficient of Efficiency: 1992 and 1997

7.3 Learning Achievement and Outcomes

Indicator 15 Percentage of pupils having reached at least grade 4 of primary schooling who master a set of nationally defined basic learning competencies.

Namibia did not have any national examinations in the primary school phase during the period of reporting. In 1995, Namibia participated in the first research project of the Southern Africa Consortium for Monitoring Educational Quality (SACMEQ). Data is available from this survey, indicating the percentage of learners who reached a minimum and a desirable level of mastery in Grade 6 English Reading. A group of English teachers and advisory teachers from several education regions had determined minimum and desired test outcomes prior to the survey. These threshold scores should be interpreted as a professional opinion, rather than official policy.

Table 24: Minimum and desirable levels of mastery achieved by learners in the 1995 SACMEQ survey

Education region

Percentage learners reaching minimum level of mastery

Percentage learners reaching desirable level of mastery

Total

25.9%

7.6%

Katima Mulilo

3.8%

0.0%

Keetmanshoop

53.7%

15.0%

Khorixas

44.1%

14.1%

Ondangwa East

11.8%

3.4%

Ondangwa West

10.1%

0.0%

Rundu

15.8%

0.1%

Windhoek

60.4%

24.7%

Source: Voigts, F.: The quality of education: some policy suggestions based on a survey of schools (1998)

Figure 20: Percentage of learners achieving the minimum level of mastery in the 1995 SACMEQ survey

The outcomes of the SACMEQ survey indicated that the level of English Reading Comprehension in Namibia was far below the level subject specialists considered to be the minimum learners should achieve to progress to Grade 7. The survey also highlighted great disparities in achievement between Regions and within those Regions where the mean achievement was relatively high.

Indicator 16 Literacy rate of 15-24 year olds.

Literacy was defined for the 1991 population census as the ability to read and write with understanding in any language. Persons who could read, but could not write, were classified as non-literate. Similarly, persons who were able to write, but could not read, were classified as non-literate.

The latest available literacy rates for Namibia were the rates collected in the 1991 population census.

Table 25: Literacy rates of 15 – 25 year-olds by region and sex (1991)

Education Region

Total

Katima Mulilo

Keetmanshoop

Khorixas

Ondangwa East

Ondangwa West

Rundu

Windhoek

Total

88.1%

86.1%

93.3%

81.9%

86.8%

94.6%

83.0%

84.8%

Male

85.7%

85.4%

92.1%

80.4%

81.4%

92.4%

83.9%

83.2%

Female

90.4%

86.8%

94.7%

83.5%

91.8%

96.4%

82.2%

86.5%

Source: Central Bureau of Statistics, Namibia

Figure 21: Literacy rates of 15 – 24 year-olds by region and sex (1991)

In 1991, the literacy rates of the 15 – 24 year-old age groups were slightly higher for females than for males in all but the Rundu region. This phenomenon was in agreement with relatively high enrolment rates of females, especially those younger than 15, and especially in the Ondangwa regions. Females tended to leave school relatively early in Rundu.

7.4 Adult Literacy

Indicator 17 Adult literacy rate: percentage of the population aged 15+ that is literate.

In contrast to the literacy rates for the 15 – 24 age group, literacy rates were higher for males in the 15 and older group, suggesting that more males than females acquired literacy in earlier years. The differences were, though, not excessive. Again, the Rundu region had the largest difference between male and female literacy: 69.3% compared to 55.8%. These differences have been shown in the gender parity indexed in Figure 2.

Table 1: Literacy rates of persons of age 15 or older by region and sex (1991)

Education Region

National

Katima Mulilo

Keetmanshoop

Khorixas

Ondangwa East

Ondangwa West

Rundu

Windhoek

Total

75.8%

66.3%

83.8%

68.0%

73.9%

81.5%

62.0%

78.3%

Male

77.7%

74.7%

83.7%

70.3%

74.9%

83.8%

69.3%

78.5%

Female

73.9%

58.5%

83.9%

65.5%

73.2%

79.9%

55.8%

78.0%

Source: Central Bureau of Statistics, Namibia

Figure 1: Literacy rates of persons of age 15 or older by region and sex (1991)

Indicator 18 Literacy Gender Parity Index: ratio of female to male literacy rates.

Table 2: Literacy gender parity index

Education Region

 

National

Katima Mulilo

Keetmanshoop

Khorixas

Ondangwa East

Ondangwa West

Rundu

Windhoek

Gender parity index

0.95

0.78

1.00

0.93

0.98

0.95

0.80

0.99

Source: Central Bureau of Statistics, Namibia

Figure 2: Literacy gender parity index

8 Effectiveness of the EFA Strategy, Plan and Programmes

Government’s EFA strategy formed a part of the overall strategy for changing the inherited colonial system into an education system appropriate to an independent country, and could not be assessed in isolation. The ministry was compelled to tackle a range of problems simultaneously, including the restructuring of the system, the revision of the complete primary and secondary curriculum, the revision of the teacher education programme, the development of a common sense of purpose, the development of staff capacities, and the provision of facilities and equipment. All of this had to be done in a way which would improve access for marginalized groups and those who had been denied opportunities under the former dispensation, and which would markedly reduce disparities between different parts of the country. With such an ambitious programme and a relatively small cadre of specialist staff, it was inevitable that all aspects of the programme could not receive sufficient attention at all times. While the programme was certainly ambitious, the expectations of the citizens of the newly independent country could not be satisfied by piecemeal reform.

Resources were insufficient for the full implementation of the programme. Economic growth was less than had been forecast with the result that even though the government had allocated between 24% and 28% of its budget to the education and culture sector, serious inequities persisted. This situation was aggravated by the improved salaries of teaching staff, with remuneration absorbing 83% of the ministry’s recurrent budget by 1998. Donor support was generally well targeted and applied to identified priorities of the ministry.

Shortly after independence the ministry lost many competent staff members to other ministries and to the private sector. Prior to independence there had been few opportunities for black professionals outside the teaching profession. The departure of staff was therefore to be expected, but impacted negatively on the reform process as some positions were occupied by a succession of incumbents and some remained unfilled for long periods. A number of staff members left because they could not identify with the philosophy of the new government. The restructuring of the ministry and promotions within the ministry required staff members to learn new competencies, which took time. The performance of some staff members was negatively affected by uncertainty about the future while the extended restructuring exercises were in progress.

Within the EFA context the principal achievements were the improved access to educational opportunities (although it must be noted that expansion at secondary levels was significantly higher than expansion at the primary level); the provision of an appropriate curriculum which made quality learning possible; the provision of learning materials relevant to the new curriculum; and improved adult literacy levels.

9 Main Problems Encountered and Anticipated

The major problem which persisted was that of inequitable provision, with its implications for acceptable learning outcomes.

As educational access expands, it tends first to reach those who are most easily reachable. The 7% of primary-aged children not in school in 1998 were those who were most difficult, that is, most costly, to reach, largely because of their isolation on large commercial farms or in remote rural areas. The provision of schooling within walking distance of their homes would have resulted in an unsustainably low learner-teacher ratio; the alternative of hostel accommodation would have increased the costs for government even beyond the cost of small one-teacher schools, and would also have brought transport and related costs which families might have been unable to meet. A solution to this problem had still to be found.

Educational provision for children with special needs had also not been adequately addressed by the end of the decade. In that area, too, solutions would have been costly. The learner-teacher ratio in special schools in 1998 was 8.5, in contrast with the national average of 29.1. In this respect alone it was three and a half times more costly to maintain a learner with special needs in school than a mainstream learner.

The next most serious problem was the quality of teaching and learning. This would partly have to be addressed through in-service training which would, however, have to be conducted in such a way that a "whole-school" change came about. Strategies needed to be devised for more effective support to schools by advisory teachers and inspectors of education. Experiments with school clustering were showing promise, but there were many schools which were difficult to cluster because of distance.

At the end of the decade, the impact of HIV/AIDS on learners and teachers could only be guessed. Although estimates were available of the number of adults in particular age-groups likely to be affected, and these projections could be applied to teachers, the balance between attrition owing to serious illness or death on the one hand, and on the other, less effective teaching owing to more frequent absences or lack of energy, could not be estimated. Nor could the effect on learner attendance of the illness or death of caregivers be forecast. It was also uncertain how enrolment patterns were likely to be affected by children contracting HIV/AIDS. Even those not directly affected by the virus would be affected by what they saw happening around them. It was necessary that reliable information on the incidence of HIV/AIDS and on AIDS-related deaths among teachers and learners be obtained so that projections might be appropriately modified, but there was as yet no mechanism for reliably collecting this information.

10 Public Awareness, Political Will and National Capacities

Public demand for education at all levels was strong. During the public hearings of the Presidential Commission on Education, Culture and Training the need for government to provide at least two years of pre-primary education was repeatedly expressed. At primary level it seemed to be accepted that government was doing all that it could, but demands were regularly made for increased access to quality junior secondary education and beyond.

The government’s commitment to education could be gauged by the percentage of the national budget which was allocated to education. At the end of the decade this was shared by two ministries. The Presidential Commission pointed to efficiencies which might be achieved by merging the ministries. Cost and finance studies initiated by the Commission but which at the time of writing were not finalized, pointed to a need to re-examine the relative unit costs of primary, secondary and tertiary education and the desirability of a stronger measure of cost recovery at the higher levels. This would release more funds for primary education

Anecdotal evidence suggested that the classroom should be the focus of intensified efforts to improve the quality of basic education. Many teachers appeared to have an inadequate grasp of the curriculum, of learner-centred approaches to teaching, and of the need for consistency in setting and working towards objectives. Proposals for reorganized educator development and support over the first decade of the new millenium were intended to address these shortcomings.

Government was committed to the decentralization of administration and decision-making to the thirteen political regions. It was expected that, by bringing greater responsibility to that level, public awareness of critical issues should increase, but that of itself would not bring about an improvement in teaching, and if approached without due caution might lead to the entrenchment of inequities. The possibilities of decentralizing more responsibility to the school level needed to be further explored and tested.

11 General Assessment of the Progress

Sound progress was made towards the achievement of education for all. A national understanding of the importance of life-long learning, as opposed to the pursuit of paper qualifications, still needed to be developed, so that education for all might be seen in the proper perspective. A general sense that more could be achieved only by increasing financial allocations also needed to be challenged; indications were that government would not be able to increase the education sector’s share of the national budget, and further development would have to be achieved by improving internal efficiency.


Previous Page Next Page