The Landless People’s Movement Member of Parliament, Utaara Mootu has condemned the announcement by the Ministry of Education that learners older than 21 years and who have completed their Namibia Senior Secondary Advance Certificate and the Senior Secondary Ordinary Certificate through Namcol cannot return to full time schooling.
However, all learners younger than 21 years will be granted a second opportunity to return to class and take on their AS level.
Mootu said this is the promotion of inequality in the education system and goes against freedom of education regardless of age.
She said this today via a virtual press conference that LPM held at 15h00 in the company of their youth leader Duminga Ndala.
Mootu pointed out that the movement to incorporate those who completed
their full-time and part-time NSSAC and NSSCO is highly welcomed and that it shows that the Ministry of Education is willing to listen to the nation. ”The AS level system is creating a gap of inequality, education is not a political system but it is the right to all girls and boy childs right to education. It is a human right,” Mootu pointed out.
The Ministry of Education, she continued, is not ”cognizant of the economic and societal impact Covid-19 had on the education fraternity, particularly on the learners. How many learners had to drop out of school due to their families unable to care for themt, not to mention those that succumbed to Covid-19 – this is the reality,” Mootu argued.
“Imagine those who are 20 years old and are not yet 21 years of age, they will have to wait or a year before they qualify for the AS level, this is segregating our young people into a new apartheid system. Age limitation is against human rights – it is wrong. The structural cluster of AS level will land many learners back into a landless depression,” she added.
Therefore, she said, LPM will write a petition showing statistically how many learners have dropped out of school. Experts on education will be consulted and the Executive Director of the MOEAC will be invited to structure a regional policy of the AS level, Mootu promised.
The AS level is only offered in certain schools which will result in space limitations, having parents worry about what will happen to their children due to the inequality the system seems to promote, she said.
“The announcement came as a shock to me, as I recall on my twitter, I tweeted asking learners what their concerns are? And parents and some learners came through saying that they are not being allowed in some schools due to space and many other concerns. So for the statement to now say they will be allowing all learners, it’s a sign of victory and I want to thank all those who voiced their concerns and we will continue now to advocate against the age limitation.”
That those who are already 21 should be allowed to complete their AS level, she demanded. Duminga Ndala echoed her sentiments, saying the MP’s statement shows a progressive move that should be given a sympathetic ear. He said political differences should be set aside for a prosperous future of the Namibian child.
Mootu lamented that education is the best tool in fighting poverty, but the newly introduced AS level is excluding many from achieving their full potential.