Scouts assisting with teaching younger children
Nkomo swenene ngopfu! Thank you for your support, on behalf of KTD196 and the children we serve, THANK YOU SO MUCH!
Welcome to our new supporters and welcome to this community, I try hard to be responsive to your questions and concerns regarding the work we do through this platform. Many questions I am asked are actually really interesting so I include them in my weekly reports so that others who may have similar questions but just not asked me, have the answers they seek. If you have a specific question please feel free to drop me a line on firstname.lastname@example.org
Recently someone asked me about the impact of Covid on education within our communities.
It is a great question so I will try and elaborate as clearly as possible, however, I need to give background information, so bear with me.
Our kids all go to government schools which were forced to close on 27th March 2020.
None of the government schools in the area we serve have internet alternatives to education.
Initially from the 27th March through to the 1st of May South Africa went into level 5 Lockdown. The whole nation apart from emergency services and the provision of food supplies came to a complete halt for 5weeks, all schools were closed.
After the 1st of May till the 1st of June, we had gone to Level 4, restrictions had been lifted although schools remained closed.
After June 1st Level 3 restrictions remained in place. The economy started to open up as more businesses could open and people could start to return to work under the new restrictions. Alcohol and cigarettes were once again available. Gender-Based Violence and Femicide escalated out of control and became a national shame. Schools hesitantly started to open but children from our area were only going to school once a week.
By 19 July 2020, South Africa became the fifth-worst affected country by coronavirus cases globally with more than 360 000 infections.
23rd July 2020 the President announced the temporary closure of schools once again.
15th August 2020 President Ramaphosa announced the lowering of restrictions to level 2 and the extension of the national state of disaster by another month. Schools slowly reopen and students attended once a week. 20th September 2020 South Africa moves to alert level 1 of the national lockdown protocol.
Now let's fast forward to 2021!
Still, government school students are only allowed to attend school once a week.
July 2021, following newly gazetted regulations under the Disaster Management Act which dictate that Primary schooling pupils from Grades R to 7 return to school daily. HOWEVER, only schools that complied with the minimum requirements of social distancing, sanitizers, masks, etc. were allowed to open.
Classroom overcrowding is still a major issue in many rural areas subsequently, many schools have not been able to open because of structural inequalities.
At least 10,000 children in South Africa have dropped out of school since the pandemic started, with students learning half or less than average in 2020 due to coronavirus, as reported by the Department of Education in August 2021.
From last week’s report, Teenage Pregnancy is up 60% since the introduction of lockdowns.
I suspect to compound this situation many children who were supposed to be in foundation classes (Pre Reception, Reception, Grade 1-3) will continue to struggle throughout their education lifetime as children are being promoted from one grade to the next irrespective of abilities. The poverty levels experienced by families and ultimately children will also affect their learning because of nutritional stunting, not receiving the micro-nutrients in their diet to sustain normal brain development.
So as you can see it is a very complex issue, education is seen as a way out of poverty, what that means for these children it is a systematic failure of the children to access their right to education which will have a long-lasting impact on their futures and their families their future.
It’s not all doom and gloom for the children in KTD196. We have study support operating, we have children working together in small groups learning from older children. We are continuing with our Life Orientation curriculum which will assist the children with that subject. What has also been a challenge is the Department of Education has refused all extra mural activities however we persevere and are transitioning back to community groups.
As you can see the work we are doing is even more vital because of the current state of affairs. Our children have not dropped out of school, our children continue to persevere and work hard despite the obstacles they are facing. I believe this perseverance is because of the overall program we run. Challenges are to be overcome, to strengthen us, and not to cause us to shrink back. The children are proving this every day despite the difficulties they face. I am very proud of our kids and you should be as well!
Despite the lockdowns last year we had a 100% matriculation pass including 2 children with 4 distinctions who have entered university in 2021.
Life in South Africa is never dull.
Anyway, I hope that answers any questions you may have? If not be sure and drop me a line.
Thank you so much for all of your assistance, your interest, and your commitment to the children we serve.
God bless you