SADAG Slams Bullying at Schools

The South African Depression and Anxiety Group (SADAG), a NGO that counselled the family of a 13-year old Gauteng pupil who committed suicide recently because of bullying, says that more than four suicides attributed to bullying had been reported in the last two weeks around the country.

SADAG operations director, Cassey Chambers, points out that they are receiving more calls about this form of ‘terrorism’, adding that, “A larger number of children are also coming forward and talking about their horrific experiences.”

Number of Public Schools Drop - SAIRR

The South African Institute of Race Relations (SAIRR) says the number of public schools in South Africa has dropped despite a rise in the number of independent schools.

SAIRR head of research, Jonathan Snyman, points out that, "The period between 2000 and 2010 saw a decline of nine percent in the number of public schools from 26 789 to 24 451.”

Snyman states that only the Northern Cape experienced a notable increase of 23 percent in the number of public schools over this period.

Refugee Children Denied ‘Right to Learn’

Refugee children in South Africa asked for identity documents and permits they don’t have are denied enrolment in public schools, according to a report by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR).

The report, which focuses on refugee education in country, highlights how many refugee children in the country are facing limited access to education, particularly at secondary levels and for those living in urban areas.

The report also highlights how it seems to be more difficult in urban areas than in rural areas close to refugee camps.

Parents Urged to Get More Involved

President Jacob Zuma has urged parents to be more involved in the education of their children instead of relying on teachers so much.

Delivering a lecture in Sasolburg in honour of John Dube, the African National Congress’s first president, Zuma argued that poor education is one of the causes of moral decay and slow economic growth.

"We, in our own homes, we no longer educate our kids … parents are not doing it. Parents are leaving it all to the teachers. That’s wrong," he explained.

SA Criticised Over Education Standards

Founder and benefactor of the Oprah Winfrey Leadership Academy for Girls, Oprah Winfrey, says the standard of school education in South Africa is too low.

Winfrey emphasises that South Africa had to invest in leadership so that rewards could be reaped later, especially in poor communities.

She points out that her school’s success is due to good, knowledgeable teachers and to girls who were not pampered because they came from difficult backgrounds.

Matric Pass Rate Welcomed With Caution

Political parties, trade unions and education advocacy groups have welcomed the class of 2011’s matric pass rate with caution.

The South African Democratic Trade Union said the results showed an improvement, but that inequalities still plagued schools and provinces.

The union pointed out that, “The results reflect an inequality in our society. Our sense is that issues of historical disadvantaged and poverty associated with race, class and the rural-urban divide are still prevalent.”

Disabled Children Out of School – NGO

The Right to Education for Children with Disabilities Campaign estimates that there are 165 000 disabled children who are out of school.

According to the Department of Basic Education’s Report on National Senior Certificate Examination School Performance Analysis, there is only one special school in Eastern Cape where pupils wrote matric - St Thomas for the Deaf, where only six candidates wrote, three of whom passed.

North West also has one school - Christiana School for the Blind - with five candidates, all of whom passed. Louzanne's school had 16 candidates.

International Literacy Day Commemorated

The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) says that the world ‘urgently’ needs increased political commitment to literacy backed by adequate resources to scale up effective programmes.

UNESCO director-general, Irina Bokova, has also urged the governments, international organisations, civil society and the private sector to make literacy a policy priority, so that every individual can develop their potential, and actively participate in shaping more sustainable, just and peaceful societies.


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