The Role of Open Schooling in Improving the Quality of Life of Young Namibians
An effective education and training system is fundamental to generate skills and knowledge that are critical for any country to prosper and to compete in international markets. In the absence of an education system that caters for the various sectors of the society, it is always difficult for the country to create employment, reduce poverty and to attain equitable social development. A pressing challenge for Namibia is to break the bottleneck of inadequate places at senior secondary level. Below 50% of learners completing the Junior Secondary phase each year are able to proceed to Senior Secondary Schools. The best way of addressing this challenge was the establishment of the Namibian College of Open Learning (NAMCOL) through an Act of Parliament in 1997. The College has been mandated to increase access by providing educational opportunities to adults and out-of-school youth who are unable to attend traditional schools. // Since its inception in 1997, the College has been successful in providing education to over two hundred and seventy three thousand (273,000) learners. Over the years, the College was faced with the challenge of assessing its effectiveness in contributing to the supply of qualified, productive and competitive members of the labour force for the country. To examine its contribution to the national development goals, the College commissioned a tracer study in 2006 on former learners who studied for the exit level of secondary education between 1999 and 2001. The study confirmed indeed that NAMCOL was making a significant contribution to its learners by providing opportunities to improve on their grades in order to pursue further studies or to seek employment. // This paper will present the results from the tracer study to show what contribution Open Schooling makes in Namibia in improving the quality of life of many young Namibians and also to dispel the myth that open and distance learning is inferior. // Paper ID 537
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