As part of the Mandela Month commemorations, the Nelson Mandela Children’s Fund (the Fund) hosted a 3-day symposium at the Wits Education Campus from Monday, 10 July until Wednesday, 12 July 2017 focusing on the wellbeing of the girl child and their immediate environments.
Some of the issues raised by children included:
Access to Education
- Lack of proper infrastructure
- Lack of sufficient teachers in schools
- Travelling long distances to schools, including scholar transport issues
- Bullying and corporal punishment
- Gangsterism in schools and local gangsters entering schools and doing as they wish
- Male teachers being in relationships or sleeping with school girls
- Dangerous weapons and drugs in school premises
- Unsafe pit toilets
- Reporting family members who are perpetrators of violence against children
- Breadwinners who might be perpetrators of violence and abuse against children
Pit toilets, lack of proper sanitation and sanitary pads are some of the issues that cause girl children to get infections or miss school during their maturational cycle. The Clicks Helping Hand Trust donated sanitary packs to all girls attending the symposium and various implementing partners in need.#NMCFGirlsSymposium2017 #Access2Education #SafetyInSchools
Do I feel safe at school?? NO
"Gangsters can enter our school and do as they wish...I feel the police are not doing enough to keep us safe. Some of the cops are friends with gangsters, some get paid by these gangster to look the other way." - a girl child from Western Cape (can’t be named cause of fear of victimization
Every school should have a social worker, teachers lack crucial skills that are important for dealing with challenges kids face.
Safe Schools= learners feel safe and free in the school (elaborate on this point)
Scholar patrols = learners feel safe at schools & are assisted when crossing major roads
Peace clubs = Help encourage educational activities among children & keep them away from the streets( this is not clear)
Department of Education has a 'Schools Safety Strategy' in place to deal with issues of safety in schools.
Issue of over-aged learners:
Policy that should be followed is to retain learners only two times in one phase and not longer than that. From then onward other alternative interventions should be sought out.
Issue of Corporal Punishment:
Classroom Management Policy document gives guidelines on other alternative measures of punishment.
"Girl Children like myself are scared in this country...therefore I would like to encourage all girl children to learn to speak out & not be afraid" - Michelle Nkamankeng.