I believe the quality of Impak Education is of a high standard and with all the educational centers opening in small towns in Namibia, the only way to go if your circumstances makes it impossible for your child to attend a school in one of the larger towns.
However, Impak can apparently not handle the large number of registrations they have to process at the start of each year. I have been trying to finalize my registration since the 3rd of November and definitely before the December holidays, but Impak closed on the 20th of December and only re-opened on the 6th of January. They sent me a quotation on the 20th of December, but I couldn't open it, because it was a winmail.dat file (which means the file was corrupt). I asked them via e-mail to resend the quotation, but received no reply. I called them, but the phone was answered by an answering machine with the message that due to a large volume of calls, I have to either hold or send an e-mail. I held on and on and called daily and also sent e-mails, but the truth was that they had closed for the festive season. This information was not given by the recording. The problem was that the Academic Department notified me in December that my Grade 11 student needed to do Grade 10 Life Orientation along with Grade 11 Life Orientation and I had to apply afterwards for the Grade 10 subject. I finally managed to get quotations on the 10th of January, but the quotation for the single Grade 10 book was separate from the Grade 11 books and a delivery fee of R1053 was charged on both quotations. I paid the two quotations together on the same day via electronic transfer, but deducted one delivery fee as the single Grade 10 book could easily be sent together with the Grade 11 books. I called again, and had to hold a long time again, and was told that I should write an email stating that I'm deducting one of the delivery fees. I did that and also requested that they inform me of the status of my registration. I did not receive an answer and sent another email on the 15th of January which was also not answered. I inquired again on the 29th of January and was told that the delivery fee of one of the quotations was still outstanding and therefore the orders could not be sent. I explained the situation via e-mail as well as by phone and believed that the problem was solved. Finally, on the 3rd of February, after I called again, I was told that the two orders will be sent together. However, I received an e-mail from a clerk on the 10th of February that the two orders cannot be sent together and that I have to pay two delivery fees. Again, I had to hold on for ten minutes before my call was answered at 14h15 and again I was told that it will be sorted out and that I will be called back the same afternoon. I was not called. I called Impak again at 16h45 and was told that the Grade 11 parcel was sent on the 6th of February. I do not know if this includes the Grade 10 parcel, but the clerk should not have answered my inquiry 12 days late with the incorrect information which stated that I must pay two delivery fees.
My complaint comes down to this:
- Registration should not shut down between 20 Dec and 6 Jan. Although having started with the registration process on the 3rd of November, the registration had not yet been finalized by the 20th of Dec and it finally took a total of 3 months. The end of the last year and the beginning of the next is the time when parents want to register their children.
- There should be coordination between the different clerks or only one clerk should be assigned to a student and better record keeping should take place. I was told by one of the clerks that she couldn't find my e-mails to the Finance Department.
- E-mails should be answered withing 24 hours (and not 12 days), and the answering machine should state it when they will be closed. I received plenty of e-mails with the same quotations while my real problem was not addressed. There is a lot of reliance on e-mail, because, as stated by the voice on the answering machine, they receive a high volume of calls.
I don't want to discourage parents from making use of Impak. I also don't want to create a negative image of Impak. I want to warn parents of administration issues that may arise and I want Impak to improve their service. I found reference to the long time it takes before students receive their books not only on the web, but also through personal communication with other parents. Many Namibian parents are switching to Impak and I hope we can get better service from them in future. Luckily our Impak center had books from previous students with which we could continue in the mean time.