Andrew Kathindi

A number of learners and exam hopefuls that missed the application deadline could be left out in the cold this year after the Ministry of Education, Arts and Culture has ruled out further extensions for registration for grades 11 and 12 exams.

Education Minister, Anna Nghipondoka declared that those who did not manage to register for exams this year will have to register in 2021.

“Some candidates forgot or neglected to register for exams and want to register now (mostly part-time). Unfortunately, we need to advise these candidates to consider registration in 2021 as an alternative avenue to obtain their National Senior Secondary Certificate (NSSC) through registered institutions such as NAMCOL,” Nghipondoka said in a statement on Tuesday 27 October.

The Minister argued that while the initial deadline for registrations and verification of the information provided was 24 April, due to extended lockdown conditions, the verification period was changed to start on 27 April 2020 to 8 May 2020 with specific new guidelines for the school teachers and heads of examination centres on how to handle verification with or without those that are registering.

“The deadlines were relaxed again for an additional one week to the 18 May 2020 to allow some part-time centres to complete their verification. Specific communication was sent by NAMCOL to all their candidates to ensure that they do their verification.”

This comes as travel into and outside of certain regions of Namibia became increasingly difficult from early June when COVID-19 cases began to spike in Walvis Bay. A travel ban was placed on the town which was only lifted on 28 August.

Similarly, travel restrictions which were placed on Windhoek after cases started rising in the capital city were lifted only on 27 September.

The minister said that “within the context of the COVID-19 pandemic, due consideration was given for the extension of the processes involved.”

Exam Director in the Education Ministry, Elizabeth Ndjenga told the Windhoek Observer that the Ministry did not have a fixed number of who those who did not apply before the deadline and are unable to take the exam this year.

“This could be anyone who wished to register for exams. It could perhaps be someone who left school 10 years ago and wanted to register for exams this year.”

Currently, the Ministry has 113,548 people who will sit for grades 11 and 12 exams at the end of the year for both part-time and full-time.