Students at the University of Namibia (Unam) are in a bitter contest against the writing of traditional examinations.
The university recently issued a circular about the assessment procedures for the remainder of the academic year. The assessment is based on feedback from staff and students, analysis of first-semester results and quality assurance considerations.
The circular states that traditional examinations will take place for all the final-year modules, all programmes regulated by a professional body and all modules that require students to write mathematical, chemical and or statistical formulas as part of their answers.
Examinations for all other modules will take place online using the transitional model as per the Admission and Examination Committee (AEC) approved guidelines.
According to the circular, University of Namibia will announce all Continuous Assessment (CA) marks on 30 October 2020.
The regular examinations, scheduled for 5 to 7 November 2020, are to be followed by supplementary exams between 7 and 15 December.
A group of students opposed to this decision have started a petition pleading with the university to reassess its decision.
The petition initiated by Unam students and the Student Representative Council (SRC) a week ago has so far garnered 4 908 of the targeted 5 000 signatures.
One of the students who signed the petition said: “We all need to advocate that if we are continuing with online classes then we should also write online exams regardless of what module it is as long as it was taught online it should be written online.”
The Namibia National Student Organisation's (Nanso) secretary for education, Malcolm Kambanzera, said their position remains cautionary to not compromise the quality of education.
Nanso recognises and endorses the importance of the examinations, he said.
Kambanzera said students need face-to-face teaching to grasp concepts before they write the examination.
"We are supporting the writing of face-to-face examinations. However, we must ensure that the university gives some sort of support to the students before they write," he said.
Kambanzera said the organisation hoped its engagements with the university would prove fruitful in light of the expiration of the coronavirus state of emergency.
Photo 1 : The Unam Main Campus.