Namibia: Drought Also Blamed for Poor Exam Results

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Since rural communities mostly depend on farming for their livelihoods, climate change in the form of drought may have contributed to last year's poor Namibia Senior Secondary Certificate Ordinary and Advanced Subsidiary level examination results.

This has been expressed by some traditional leaders. Only about 8 133 pupils out of the 38 019 who wrote last year's exams are eligible for tertiary education.

Erna Harases-Snewe, senior councillor of the //Gaoiodaman Traditional Authority, says climate change has affected rural communities who mostly depend on the livestock they sell to support their children's educational needs. Harases-Snewe says with the drought experienced in certain areas, communities are finding it harder to support their children.

"In some cases children stay behind with their parents at the farms as the parents cannot support all their children attending school," she says.

According to Harases-Snewe, this lack of support may have affected children psychologically too.

"Apart from the drought the new curriculum may have contributed to the high failure rate too as both children and teachers have had to adapt to it," she says.

She says children may not have been able to concentrate in the classroom as they may have found the new curriculum, challenging

"Children and teachers are both trying to adapt to the new curriculum, so we should give them time," Harases-Snewe says.

Deputy chief of the //Huruben Daman Traditional Authority in the Kunene region Eveline !Hoaes believes drought has contributed to the region's poor results.

"Our communities are dependent on farming.

Drought has killed our livestock, which most people use to support their schoolgoing children."

She says predators have also killed livestock, but the compensation for this paid to farmers is less than before.

"Those who are attending school perform poorly due to a lack of support," !Hoaes says.

"Our livestock are killed by drought, and we can't take care of our children, so how can we expect better results?" she asks.

According to a report on the World Food Programme website, experts predict that Namibia's climate will become hotter and drier in the next five decades, with greater variability in rainfall.

The same report says the Kunene region is prone to floods, droughts and wildfires, which have intensified in recent years, decimating crops and livestock and increasing hunger in a country highly dependent on imports. Namibia only produces about 40% of the food it consumes.

Over the past years the private sector has assisted the Kunene region with 6 078 bales of grass and 200 bales of lucerne, as well as food for 5 000 households, the report says.

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