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To: Bonakele Majuba, MEC of Education in Mpumalanga

Get Minister of Basic Education to prioritize placement of more social workers in Mpumalanga.

We need the Department of Education to work together with the department of Social Development in implementing the hiring of social workers in Mpumalanga in order to make social services more accessible. We need the minister to start working on a plan, and a budget, so that the funding of social workers can be made available in the next financial year. We expect the minister to attend to this matter as soon as possible by making a public statement announcing the placement of more social workers starting in the Province of Mpumalanga, the province with the most reported incidents of School violence [4]. The department of Basic Education must collaborate with The Department of Social Development in identifying and ensuring the readiness of the social workers that are going to be placed.

Why is this important?

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/

How it will be delivered

We have already delivered the petition to The Department of Basic Education via email.

Category


Reasons for signing

  • I am in support for social workers to be employed.
  • Because it will help our communities
  • I just signed to support

Updates

2020-02-07 10:24:27 +0200

We have delivered the petition to the Minister of Education and they sent us an email acknowledging receipt. We will give updates as soon as we have a response

2020-01-21 22:22:17 +0200

1,000 signatures reached

2020-01-20 20:44:36 +0200

500 signatures reached

2020-01-20 08:53:51 +0200

Here are the minutes from the last ‘Safety & Security in Schools’ briefing by DBE and SAPS, with Minister of Basic Education, scroll down to the discussion and read a comment by Ms D Ngwenya of the EFF. It speaks to this issue.
https://pmg.org.za/committee-meeting/28835/

2020-01-20 08:53:16 +0200

Here are the minutes from the last ‘Safety & Security in Schools’ briefing by DBE and SAPS, with Minister of Basic Education, scroll down to the discussion and read a comment by Ms D Ngwenya of the EFF. It speaks to this issue.

2020-01-14 16:05:45 +0200

100 signatures reached

2020-01-13 19:17:59 +0200

50 signatures reached

2020-01-13 14:24:09 +0200

25 signatures reached

2020-01-13 13:26:13 +0200

10 signatures reached