Factors in Students’ Errors in English Writing Proficiency At the University of Namibia Khomasdal Campus

Main Article Content

Penehafo Henok
Steve Ndinga-Koumba-Binza


English is the sole medium of instruction in Namibian higher education institutions. The fact that more than 90% of Namibian students do not speak English as their home language has often been indicated as the cause of students’ poor performance in English. This study investigates the English proficiency of first-year education students at the University of Namibia's Khomasdal Campus with a focus on students’ written works. This study aims to identify and explain the factors that cause students’ poor writing proficiency in English. Based on qualitative research perspectives, the results show that Namibian students face a range of challenges regarding written communication.

Article Details

How to Cite
Henok, P., & Ndinga-Koumba-Binza, H. S. (2024). Factors in Students’ Errors in English Writing Proficiency: At the University of Namibia Khomasdal Campus. NAWA Journal of Language and Communication, 17(1), 36–45. https://doi.org/10.59677/njlc.v17i1.50
Author Biographies

Penehafo Henok, University of Namibia

Penehafo Henok is a lecturer at the University of Namibia (UNAM) at the Khomasdal Campus. She completed her bachelor’s degree in Education majoring in English and Oshindonga and a Master of Education (Literacy and Learning) both at UNAM. Penehafo completed a PhD in Language Education at the University of the Western Cape. She is a reviewer for the Journal of the University of Namibia Language Centre (JULACE). Her research interests are the use of language, learning and teaching, and research.

Steve Ndinga-Koumba-Binza, University of the Western Cape

Hugues Steve Ndinga-Koumba-Binza is affiliated with the University of the Western Cape as a Senior Researcher in the Centre for Advanced Studies of African Society (CASAS). He holds a PhD in phonetics from Stellenbosch University (South Africa) and a master’s degree in Language Sciences from Omar Bongo University (Gabon). He has been an elected Board member of the African Association for Lexicography (AFRILEX) since 2011, and a rotating Editor of Lexikos since 2016. He is currently working on resuscitating Tinabantu: Journal of Advanced Studies of African Society. His research interests include among others, African language phonetics and phonology, African language intellectualisation, and language dynamics in African educational institutions.


Amineh, R. J., & Asl H. D. (2015). Review of constructivism and social constructivism. Journal of Social Sciences, Literature and Languages, 1(1), 9-16.

Andrade, M. S. (2009). The effects of English language proficiency on adjustment to university life. International Multilingual Research Journal, 3(1), 16-34.

Brock-Utne, B., & Holmarsdottir, H. B. (2001). The choice of English as a medium of instruction and its effects on the African languages in Namibia. International Review of Education, 47(3-4), 293-322.

Burton, N., Brundrett, M., & Jones, M. (2008). Doing your Education Research Project. Sage Publications.

Cekiso, M., Tshotsho, B., & Masha, R. (2015). English language proficiency as a predictor of academic achievement among primary English first additional language learners in South Africa. International Journal of Educational Sciences, 9(3), 325-333.

Cummins, J. (2007). Language, Power and Pedagogy: Bilingual Children in the Crossfire. Cromwell Press Ltd.

Etikan, I., Musa, S. A., & Alkassim, R. S. (2016). Comparison of convenience sampling and purposive sampling. American Journal of Theoretical and Applied Statistics, 5(1), 1-4. https://doi.org/10.11648/j.ajtas.20160501.11.

Frans, T. H. N. (2016). Barriers to Learning English as a Second Language in Two Higher Learning Institution in Namibia. Doctoral Thesis. Windhoek: University of Namibia.

Haimbodi, K. O. N. (2022). A Contrastive Error Analysis of English Essays by Oshiwambo Speaking 2nd Year Students in the Department of Agriculture and Natural Resources Sciences at NUST. MA Thesis. Windhoek: Namibia University of Science and Technology.

Hanse-Himarwa, K. (11 May 2015). Government to help 3000 underqualified teachers. New Era, 1.

Hanse-Himarwa, K. 15 May (2016). Star of the week: Minister of Education, Arts and Culture Katrina Hanse-Himarwa. New Era, 2.

Harris, P. G. (2011). Language in schools in Namibia: The missing link in education achievement. The Urban Trust of Namibia.

Iipinge, K. (2013). English Lingua Franca as Language of Learning and Teaching in Northern Namibia: A report on Oshiwambo Teachers’ Experiences. Master’s Thesis. Stellenbosch: University of Stellenbosch.

Iipinge, K. (2018). Consequences of ideology and policy in the English Second Language classroom: The case of Oshiwambo-speaking students in Namibia. Doctoral Thesis. Cape Town: University of the Western Cape.

Khosravi, M. (2012). A study of language learning strategies used by EFL learners in Iran: Exploring proficiency effect on English language learning strategies. Theory and Practice in Language Studies, 2(10), 2122-2132.

Kisting, D. (2012). Namibia’s language policy is ‘poisoning’ its children. The Guardian, January 10(2012). [Online]: http://www.theguardian.com/educatio/2012/jan/10/

Krishnamurthy, S., Kangira, J., Tjiramanga, A., & Beukes. B. (2011). An analysis of English errors made by Polytechnic of Namibia students. NAWA Journal of Communication, 5(2), 1-15.

Macaro, E., Curle, S., Pun, J., An, J., & Dearden. J. (2018). A systematic review of English medium instruction in higher education. Language Teaching, 51(1), 36-76.

Msanjila, Y. P. (2005). Problems of writing in Kiswahili: A case study of Kigurunyembe and Morogoro secondary schools in Tanzania. Nordic Journal of African Studies, 14(1), 15-25.

Mungungu, S. S. (2010). Errors Analysis: Investigating the Writing of ESL Namibian Learners. MA Thesis. Pretoria: University of South Africa.

Mutimani, M. M. (2016). Academic Writing in English: Challenges Experienced by Bachelor of Education Primary Levels Students at the University of Namibia, Katima Mulilo Campus. MEd Thesis. Windhoek: University of Namibia.

Mwandayi, E. (2009). Readership promotion experiences in Tanzania: The Tusome Vitabu project. In K. Parry (Ed.)., Reading in Africa, Beyond the School. Fountain Publishers. (pp. 203–210).

Mwinda, N., & Van der Walt. C. (2015). From English-Only to translanguaging strategies: Exploring possibilities. Per Linguam, 31(3), 100-118.

Nalusiba, P. (2010). Strategies for the Development of a Reading Culture in Uganda Primary Schools: Case Studies of Four Selected Universal Primary Education Schools in Kampala District. Master Thesis. Kampala: Makerere

Pica, T. (1994). Questions from the language classroom: Research perspective. TESOL Quarterly, 28(1), 49-79.

Pütz, M. (1995). Attitudes and language: An empirical investigation into the status and use of English in Namibia. In M. Pütz (Ed.), Discrimination Through Language in Africa? Perspectives on the Namibian Experience. Mounton De Gruyter. (pp. 245-284).

Republic of Namibia, Ministry of Basic Education, Sport and Culture (2003). The Language Policy for Schools in Namibia. Windhoek: Upgrading African Languages Project.

Smars, L. (2013). Reading culture in Nigeria. The Journal of Publishing Culture 1[online article]. https://journalpublishingculture.weebly.com/smars.html.

Tötemeyer, A. (2010). Multilingualism and the Language Policy for Namibian Schools. Cape Town: PRAESA. Occasional Papers No 37. Cape Town: University of Cape Town.

Tötemeyer, A. (26 January 2018). English proficiency: A complex problem. The Namibian, 11.

UNDP (United Nations Development Programme). (2016). Human development for everyone. Human Development Report 2016. New York: UNDP. Retrieved 30 September 2022 from http://hdr.undp.org/sites/default/files/2016_human_development_report.pdf.

Vaismoradi, M., Jones, J., Turunen, H., & Snelgrove, S. (2016). Theme development in qualitative content analysis and thematic analysis. Journal of Nursing Education and Practice, 6(5), 100-110.

Wolfaardt, D. (2002). Facilitating learning through medium of instruction: Namibia’s language policy. In S.G. Lewis (Ed.), Inform Reforming Reform: Namibian Research to Inform Education Policy and Practice. Ministry of Education. (pp. 67-85).