The effects of language admission requirements of Namibian universities on indigenous English second language students
Nghuulikwa, Pat Kaudimomunhu
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Most learners in Namibia do not perform in English at a level that would allow them university entrance. This has prompted a widespread debate, as many advocates of education believe that the current performance standards in English deprive many learners an opportunity to enroll at local universities, thus calling for a review of English admission requirements at Namibian universities. The aim of the study was to investigate the standards level to which learners are expected to perform in English, the learners’ performance in ESL in comparison with other subjects and how this affects their admission to local universities. The study’s objective was to identify and discuss the effects of English language requirements for Namibian students to be admitted to university. Furthermore, the study critically interrogated the Namibian school curriculum and compulsory English language entry requirements of local universities and described how the school curriculum can be adapted to allow more learners access to university. A qualitative approach was followed with an explanatory case study design to explore the effects of language admission requirements of Namibian universities on indigenous English Second Language students. Concept-based purposive sampling was employed to select the 6 institutions and the 26 respondents. Data were collected using online questionnaires, online interviews and document analysis respectively and thereafter analysed using thematic analysis. The findings indicated that the compulsory ESL admission requirements causes a delay in students’ enrolment to university as students have to take a gap year improving their ESL grades and some students have to venture in undesired courses of study, because of poor ESL grades. The research also identified teachers’ inadequate proficiency, underqualified ESL teachers, inadequate infrastructural facilities and instructional medias, inadequate use multimedia technology, vernacular/first language linkage, lack of grammatical understanding, non-completion of the syllabus, and poor English language foundation and exposure as possible causes of learners’ underperformance in matric’s ESL. Furthermore, this study found that there is a gap in terms of teaching and learning materials, teaching and learning strategies, language subskills and assessment methods between the content of the matric syllabus and the universities’ English preparatory courses.
- Education