Stop screaming at children over exam results – Steenkamp

Sanet Steenkamp

Executive director of education, arts and culture Sanet Steenkamp has urged pupils’ parents and guardians to stop scolding them over their exam results and comparing them to other pupils.

Steenkamp says children learn at their own pace and are not the same.

“That is why we believe in differentiated instruction in our schools. Parents must understand when you start comparing children to one another, we are causing harm,” she says.

“Why should we parents scream at pupils because of the results if we know how much we have spent on them on supervision and structural timetables with our children at home?” she asks.


Steenkamp appeals to pupils to never lose hope, saying a situation is never without solution.

“If there are things that are pressing on the heart, or children have underlying depression issues, anxieties or mental health problems, we are so aware that many of our children need psychosocial support and our life skills teachers are trained to handle these cases,” she says.

Steenkamp says the ministry has a reference network of social workers in the Ministry of Health and Social Services and the Ministry of Gender Equality, Poverty Eradication and Social Welfare.

“I wish to encourage every child who feels depressed or feels they are not worth it.

You are worth it, you are young, we believe in second and third chances in life. “There are so many solutions out there.

There is ChildLine/LifeLine we can call anonymously and be assisted and nobody will judge you for feeling how you feel,” she says.

Parents are advised to look out for specific signs of depression and anxiety in children as they could be detrimental to their health.

“Parents must understand that for us to value education, we must invest in education. We keep maintaining that we do not just invest in terms of finances. Our investment should be truthful and sincere engagement with pupils – even on issues they are uncomfortable with,” she says.


The Students Union of Namibia (SUN) has called on all stakeholders to assist pupils to cope with anxiety over examinations results.

SUN president Benard Kavau says those who did not meet the required points for their career of their choice should be reminded that it is not the end of the road – there are other possibilities, such as vocational education.

He says such pupils can upgrade their marks to boost their points or do bridging courses.

“Parents should be more supportive and help their children. Yelling and beating children will not change their results, but rather increase psychological damage to an already hurt pupil,” Kavau says.


Meanwhile, Steenkamp says the Ministry of Education, Arts and Culture has learnt about the death of a pupil in the Oshikoto region on Thursday. The police say Shatiwa Nghifilenga (17), who was a pupil at Olukolo Secondary School, took his own life on Thursday morning after receiving his exam results on Wednesday.

According to Oshikoto police regional commander commissioner Theopolina Kalompo-Nashikaku, Shatiwa was allegedly sad after receiving the news that he failed Grade 11.

Kalompo-Nashikaku says Shatiwa was found unconscious by his uncle.

He was rushed to Omuthiya District Hospital and was transferred to Oshakati Intermediate Hospital for further treatment, where he died.

No suicide note was left, and no foul play is suspected, she says.

“The reasons are not clear as to what led to the child’s death, however, it is tragic and sad that a pupil lost his life and a parent lost a child.

“We wish to extend our most sincere condolences to the parents, guardians, family members and friends of the pupil,” she says.

  • Call LifeLine/ChildLine on 116 toll-free.

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