• Minister Motshekga, keep South African schools as alcohol-free zones!!
    This is an issue that affects everyone in our society - learners, educators, school admin staff, and anyone who has, or will have, a child in the school system. There is a saying that 'it takes a village to raise a child'. Well, it takes a caring society to protect its children from exposure to the risk of harm. Alcohol use is already a major problem in our country. Schools in some communities already face the challenge of having large numbers of liquor outlets around them and very close to them. Some already have problems with alcohol being used on their premises. Making it possible for schools to have liquor for the purpose of fund-raising simply increases the risks for all of those at schools - learners, educators, admin staff, and even family members who interact with the school. If schools have a problem raising funds, government and society must work with them to address it in other ways - allowing schools to raise money through liquor is not the answer. We should be better than that as a society, as South Africans. We call on you to join us in urging the government to scrap the sections in the BELA Bill which will allow liquor on school premises and at school events. Support the call for a complete ban on liquor on school premises (except for personal use by staff who live on school property). Demand better funding models for our schools so that all children have access to quality education in a safe and protected environment. Fly a blue ribbon at your school in support of the campaign; wear blue ribbons as a group as you participate in school activities. Write to the Minister at [email protected] to tell her what you think of the alcohol clauses in the BELA Bill. Write to the Portfolio Committee in Parliament by 15 June to register your opposition to the alcohol clauses in the Bill - Mr Llewellyn Brown, the Committee Secretary via email: [email protected] or online at https://forms.gle/MoC6AdbdQyYPk3Y49 or via WhatsApp: +27 60 550 9848. Mr Llewellyn Brown can be reached on 083 709 8450 for enquiries. Download the BELA Bill from https://www.parliament.gov.za/storage/app/media/Bills/2022/B2_2022_Basic_Education_Laws_Amendment_Bill/B2_2022_Basic_Education_Laws_Amendment_Bill.pdf Together we can win this one!
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    Created by Southern African Alcohol Policy Alliance in SA (SAAPA SA) Picture
  • Pay The ECD Relief Funds Now!
    The delays in payment have resulted in hundreds of ECD centres buckling under the strain of Covid-19 and closing down as they cannot afford rent, electricity, nutrition for the children in their care, or staff salaries. Many staff members have had little to no income for almost two years, since the initial nation-wide lockdown in March 2020, and are struggling to put food on their tables and pay for basic needs – they truly require emergency relief funding.
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  • #ThePeopleSay #WakeUpSA: Raising our voices against state capture and corruption
    We have elected leaders and bestowed on them the responsibility to govern, to enable us to achieve a better life for all – not themselves. We, as people of South Africa, have a right to know in whose interests’ decisions – supposedly in "our” name – were and continue to be made. The culture of secrecy and impunity must come to an end if our democracy is to thrive. Transparency and accountability are non-negotiable, as too are the requirements for transformative actions to address the injustices that remain embedded in our social, economic and political systems. Our constitution is revolutionary in its design, but the values and vision that it prescribes can only materialise if embraced by the state through which it is enacted. As people of this country, we all support the value and vision in the Constitution which protects the rights of the people in our country, it is the bedrock of our democracy and foundation of the rule of law. We, the undersigned, support/endorse this open letter to raise our voices in solidarity against state capture and impunity, and to say now is the time for us to be heard. The realities of the current moment cannot be met with silence and complacency. #ThePeopleSay #Wake-Up SA! Civil Society endorsements: Alternative Information and Development Centre (AIDC) Centre for Applied Legal Studies (CALS) Council for the Advancement of the South African Constitution (CASAC) Corruption Watch (CW) Dullah Omar Institute (DOI) Equal Education (EE) Freedom Under Law (FUL) Legal Resources Centre (LRC) My Vote Counts (MVC) Open Secrets Organisation for Undoing Tax Abuse (OUTA) Public Affairs Research Institute (PARI) Section27 (S27) Southern African Faith Communities’ Environment Institute (SAFCEI) Right2Know (R2K)
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  • #ShiftTheDate for the matric rewrite registration
    Because of the disruptions to the 2020 school year, these Second Chance opportunities are going to be more important than ever to help young people to achieve the very valuable matric qualification. Learners in the Class of 2020 must be given every chance of successfully registering for these opportunities. It is unacceptable that the registration date for Second Chance mid-year examinations has not been changed to accommodate the later than usual release of the matric results. The Class of 2020 faced an immensely challenging school year. Let us not further disadvantage them. We, therefore, call on the Department of Basic Education to extend the registration deadline for the Second Chance May/June 2021 examinations. This request has precedent. In 2019, when the Class of 2018 received their matric results on 4 January, the Department of Basic Education extended the registration deadline – from 31 January to 18 February [3] – for those who wanted a second chance to write matric exams. We call on the department to do so again in 2021. [1] https://www.education.gov.za/Curriculum/SeniorCertificate/SCRegistration.aspx [2] https://www.eservices.gov.za/ [3]https://www.education.gov.za/Newsroom/MediaReleases/tabid/347/ctl/Details/mid/8128/ItemID/5986/Default.aspx
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  • REVIEW DISCRIMINATORY NRF Postgraduate Scholarship and Funding Framework 2021
    For an example chapter 9 of the NDP articulates our weakness by global standards in relation to national research and innovation systems, revealing amongst other things that there has been little increase to public research workforce, PhDs and research outputs. The honourable Minister will be acutely aware that the country’s global competitiveness requires drastic improvement and presently the distribution of research capacity in higher education institutions of learning is still skewed towards white institutions. We recognize that the racial history affected most facets of life, including but not limited to the labour market and education system. As result, the democratic government had a responsibility to reconcile the racial divide in relation to education and training system and labour market. It had to usher a wide scale of reforms of public policies meant to redress the racial past which characterised what scholars called ‘low skills regime’. Thus, we believe that the age restriction imposed on the NRF will have far reaching for South Africans especially the black who aspire to study up to doctoral level.
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  • UNIVERSITIES TO ISSUE OWING STUDENTS GRADUATE CERTIFICATES
    1. This will help many students enter the job market. 2. Universities' financial sustainability will improve as more graduates get jobs and start paying-off their debts. 3. This will also reduce the social burden on the government of giving out grants as more people are employed. 4. This will contribute to the NDP and the GDP of South Africa.
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  • Call Gauteng MEC of Education to place social workers in rural schools in Hammanskraal
    The schools located in low-income areas face the challenge of, Vulnerable family structure( skipped generation households and child headed households). This has a negative impact on how the students perform at school and survival is usually prioritized above school work [3]. Therefore there is a need for a social worker to identify students from these households and offer them support so that they can get the best out of their education [2]. Since social workers are social advocates they can connect students/parents with the right stakeholders. They can workshop around issues that make it difficult for students to participate fully in the classroom [1]. They can make the school environment more conducive to learning. They can hold meetings with parents and community members for the overall benefit of the student. Call to action: Sign this campaign now to ensure that the MEC of Education, places social workers at rural schools in hammanskraal. Our main objective is for students to thrive and succeed, but they are weighed down and overburdened by the family structures they find themselves in;causing them to not perform at their best. By signing this petition you will help us get the MEC to place a standing social worker in rural schools in Hammanskraal. The social worker will act as a facilitator between the community and the school, a social advocate to ensure that students get the best out of their education and a support system for teachers,providing them with tools needed to support at risk students. Together we can guarantee that our students maximize their opportunities but we need to remove barriers to their education. Sign now and make a difference. References [1] https://socialworklicensure.org/articles/become-a-school-social-worker/ [2] https://msw.usc.edu/mswusc-blog/what-is-a-school-social-worker/ [3] https://borgenproject.org/what-is-the-relationship-between-poverty-and-learning/ Helpful Statistics and Readings https://mobile.twitter.com/StatsSA/status/1133299234579648513?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw%7Ctwcamp%5Etweetembed&ref_url=https%3A%2F%2Fd-96 https://journals.co.za/content/journal/10520/EJC-1399f14fb9
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  • Tell Thembeni Mhlongo to build a public creche in Windsor West
    It is unrealistic to expect that community members in poor and low income areas will be able to provide suitable crèche’s in line with the requirements of the Department. The particular requirements in infrastructure, safety regulations, health standards, teacher qualifications, and high standards of education and as well as capacitated organisations are an unrealistic expectation for these communities. This was echoed by the words of crèche principal, Georginah Hloka in a meeting held on the 29th of October 2019 with the Department of Social Development, Department of Health and the Department of Education in Tembisa Township [1]. How can crèche owners then provide adequate toilets, proper infrastructure, provisions for disabled children, nutritious food, qualified teachers, physical safety features and adequate space for children if community members cannot even afford to pay a R1000?This then means that the whole idea of private crèche’s can never really work in poor and low income communities [2]. Research shows that the improvement of pre-school learning in the country came when grade R learners were incorporated into the public school system and became housed in primary schools [3]. Grade R is however only for five year olds and six year olds. This means that, for poorer communities, provision of pre-school education by the public government is better than that of private providers. The same is not true for affluent neighbourhoods however. This is why we are calling for the Gauteng’s Head of the department of social development to rather build public crèche’s as private crèche’s are not sustainable in poorer areas. What is moreover disturbing about the poor quality of pre-school education for black children is that the children who of the race group that needs the most support in order to reduce rates of inequality in the future as they are shaped by race and gender, are the children whose development is being stunted all the more. Research shows that poor nutrition, poor learning environment and low standards of teaching are the main cause of why children from poor backgrounds generally perform worse than children from upper and middle classes[4]. The DSD MEC needs to stop this plight and push for decision making to rather build public crèche’s as opposed to trying to shift the responsibility of educating the poor to community members who are structurally unable to play this role. [1] Township crèches must now register, says government: https://www.sowetanlive.co.za/news/south-africa/2019-10-29-township-crches-must-now-register-says-government/ [2] Raising South Africa: informal crèches are desperate for aid: https://www.groundup.org.za/article/raising-south-africa-informal-creches-are-desperate-aid/ [3] impact of the introduction of grade R on learning outcomes: http://resep.sun.ac.za/wp-content/uploads/2014/06/Grade-R-Evaluation-1-3-25-Final-Unpublished-Report-13-06-17.pdf [4] Challenges of the Early Development Sector in South Africa by Michaela Ashley Cooper, Eric Atmore and Lauren Van Niekerk 2012. The Journal of Early Childhood Development Journal. The University of Johannesburg.
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  • Get Minister of Basic Education to prioritize placement of more social workers in Mpumalanga.
    South Africa is classified as one of the most violent nations in the world [1], so it should not come as a surprise that the violence has wormed its way into schools, affecting the most vulnerable group in our society. This past year, there’s been a lot of reported school violence, from the killing of a learner at Forest High School, to the gunning down of a teacher at Masuku Primary school [2] In June last year, Patti Silbert and Thembeka Mzozoyana published an article in the Daily Maverick discussing and highlighting the importance of making counseling accessible to all South African Youth, more especially learners in schools [3]. Furthermore, Angie Motshekga revealed to the Basic Education and portfolio committee that schools placed in high crime rate communities experience high rates of violence [4]. Upon revealing this, the Minister promised to implement programmes aimed at tackling the issue of violence in schools and to this date, we have not seen any significant, visible implementations. The recent annual performance plan from The Department of Social Development mentions challenges existing in each province. One of the challenges mentioned was ‘the plight of qualified but unemployed social worker graduates’ [5], which tells us that there are available unemployed Social workers. It does not come as a surprise that in that annual performance plan meeting, the MEC of Mpumalanga, a province with the most reported incidents of school violence [4], mentioned the need for more social workers and support for early childhood development in the province in the province [5]. The Department of Basic Education regards social workers to be members of a multi-disciplinary team. A multi-disciplinary team placed at district offices, away from schools. Currently, the team only gets involved if and when there’s an issue affecting the academic performance of the child [6]. What we need is school social workers, people within immediate reach of children, people who are bound to have a quick response to the issues involving children. In 2015, there were only 4 social workers placed at District level around Mpumalanga (this excludes the social workers hired by SGBs and Churches) [6]. It certainly comes as a shock that a province with 17 municipalities only had four social workers hired by the Department of Basic Education while there’s said to be a lot of unemployed social workers [5]. The DBE policy emphasizes care and support for learning, the policy also states that in order for this to be achieved, a multi-sectoral approach is required [7]. This means that the department is mandated to seek help from other sectors/departments in order to ensure the holistic well being of all children. In last year's annual report meeting, the Minister of Basic Education mentioned that they have entered into a partnership with the department of social development to ensure the placement of school psychologists and social workers, but no time frame was provided [8]. The department is evidently aware of need of social workers in schools. We just need them to attend to this matter urgently, and as promised. Sign this campaign to ensure that the well being of our children in schoolsi is prioritized and that every child gets quality education regardless of their backgrounds. If enough of us come together in the signing of this petition, it would force the minister to see the seriousness of the situation and attend to it urgently. That will mean that our children will get free cancelling in schools, and will be professionally equipped to deal with any issue affecting them socially, academically, psychologically, etc. REFERENCES [1] South Africa is one of the least safe countries in the world. Staff Writer at BusinessTech 24 November 2019 [2] School Violence : What Govt is doing to keep our children and Teachers safe. Kayllynn Palm for EWN 20 June 2019 [3] Legacy of youth protest sees learners scarred by mental health issues. Patti Silbert and Tembeka Mzozoyana for Daily Maverick 13 June 2019 [4] Motshekga reveals 1345 hotspots for school violence. Edwin Naidu for IOL 15 September 2019 [5] Department of Social Development 2019/20 Annual Performance Plan; with Minister https://pmg.org.za/committee-meeting/28602/ [6] South Africa. Department of Basic Education. 2010a. Care and support for teaching and learning. Pretoria. [7] Social Workers’ perceptions of their role within the framework of Inclusive Education. HW can Sittert November 2016 https://pdfs.semanticscholar.org/eb3f/65aa35f5d68f5b02eacef7ea99a65cae27aa.pdf [8] Department of Basic Education 2019/20 Annual Performance Plan, with Minister https://pmg.org.za/committee-meeting/28524/
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  • Add your name to assist Wits students owing more than R20 000 to register
    Lungelo Malevu, holding a BSc in Biological Sciences is one of many from Wits University who currently have historical debt “I owe R135 893.28 and the university has withheld my degree and I only have access to my unofficial transcript. This is a challenge because I cannot apply for a number of jobs since there is no proof that I have completed my degree” Portia Mosime, hoping to register for her final year in Psychology “my mother is unemployed but we survive through the money she makes from her vegetable garden which supplies her community with fresh veggies, however she makes less than R500 a month this is not enough to cover the outstanding debt at Wits amounting to R76 117.81” Students often financially excluded from institutions of higher learning are black female students from previously disadvantaged backgrounds. They account for close to 58% in universities and 57% in TVET colleges [4]. The lack of access to funding opportunities for higher learning affects them the most. Following the efforts made by the SRC and other important organizations, these testimonies should motivate people to add their names to this campaign to put more pressure on the financial committee (FinCo) as they are the ones responsible for determining the fees to be paid by students. Ultimately this should end the unequal access to institutions of higher learning affecting poor black South African youth. The efforts by NSFAS and other funding schemes can only assist a certain number of students, this further reduces the rate at which graduates enter the job market. Despite unemployment rates being high, the critical work of doctors and nurses requires a surplus of recent graduates based on the demands of the job. If a medical degree student fails to clear their historic debt they cannot graduate and enter the job market, potentially changing people’s lives. These dreams end up not being a reality. Therefore, the more support this campaign gains, the fight against academic exclusion due to finances is kept alive, students around this time are in distress and often end up further getting themselves into more debt and stress way before the academic year starts. Adding your name to this campaign at this moment ensures that the relevant decision makers can act now and implement these demands before the month comes to an end. This means that students with historic debt can continue with their studies. References [1] Wits Vuvuzela, 2019 Accessed here: https://www.wits.ac.za/registration/returning-undergraduate-students/ [2] Takalani Sioga for the Wits Vuvuzela. 3 August 2018. Accessed here: https://www.witsvuvuzela.com/2018/08/03/nsfas-tells-2019-applicants-to-wait/ [3] Michael Pedro for EWN, 2019. Accessed here: https://www.google.com/amp/s//ewn.co.za/2019/03/24/dhet-allocates-r697m-to-nsfas-to-settle-historic-debt-owed-to-universities/amp [4] South African Market. 12 November 2019 Category: Education accessed here: https://www.southafricanmi.com/education-statistics.html
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  • Universities should not withhold certificates of impoverished graduates
    The vice-like grip on graduate certificates by universities frustrates not only the graduates but also their entire families. These certificates, to black families, represent a symbolic break with generational poverty. The documents are an inspiration to their siblings, hence they are hung on the walls in our homes as a reminder and motivation that hard work pays off. Our universities are still mercilessly holding on to certificates of many graduates who cannot afford to settle their tuition fees due to unaffordability as South Africa is suffering from high levels of unemployment hence many graduates are still unemployed to this day. The manner in which institutions are behaving towards their alumni is no different from loan sharks who would hold on to identity documents and bank cards of their victims - so that they are condemned to perpetual poverty and debt.There is no valid reason why universities are holding on to certificates when they can resort to debt collectors and other means to get debts settled. Remove this unnecessary hurdle by giving all graduates their certificates and use other means to get the debts settled.#ReleaseGraduatesCertificates
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  • Mweli, Make Gender and Sexuality Studies Compulsory in teacher training programs
    Karabo Mafolo of the Daily Maverick reports that “In a 2016 report, the LGBTI organisation OUT LGBT Well-being, reported that 51% of transgender people had experienced discrimination in their education life.” This year, there was an mass hysteria about the new curriculum introducing “masturbation” as part of the new Life Orientation curriculum for grade 4 according to a misleading article by Prega Govender in The Sunday Times, 12 May 2019. This sparked the conversation on social media platforms where the concern wasn’t necessarily the introduction of sex and gender education but the level of engagement. More concerning however, is that there is currently no steps being taken to ensure that the very educators of the current and new Life Orientation curriculum are being trained to formally and professionally Gender and Sexuality Studies. The Department has previously displayed a strong capacity to retrain teachers when the CAPS curriculum was introduced in 2011. Met with great reluctance from teachers, Bongani Nkosi of The Star reported that the CAPS curriculum was implemented, reviewed and monitored - meaning the Department of Education is able to introduce gender and sexuality as part of current and future training for firstly Life Orientation teachers, and gradually, a compulsory training program for any teaching qaulification. It is the responsibility of the Department of Education to prioritize Gender and Sexuality to create inclusive, intersectional and informative learning environments starting with the teachers and filtering it down to scholars and the wider community Sources 1. Department of Education (www.education.gov.za) - Director General of Basic Education 2. Bongani Nkosi, The Star, 7 September 2018 3. Prega Govender, The Sunday Times, 12 May 2019 4. Karabo Mafolo, The Daily Maverick, 4 June 2019
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