Santam and UNICEF partner to promote quality education and safer schools
PRETORIA, 13 March 2013 – Santam today partnered with the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) and the Department of Education in Mpumalanga to promote safer schools and quality education in the province. A total investment amount of R5.2 million will go towards the roll-out of the Safe and Caring Child Friendly Schools (SCCFS) over the next three years.
The investment will assist 175 needy schools in disadvantaged communities to adopt the Safe and Caring Child Friendly Schools programme.
These schools will receive additional teaching and learning support as well as assistance to improve school management systems. The partnership will also promote the strengthening of life skills among learners with a focus on preventing gender-based violence, HIV and teenage pregnancy.
Addressing social issues to improve education experience
The schools that will be benefitting from the partnership face a myriad of social challenges that negatively impact on academic performance.
“South Africa has made significant investment in public schools to improve standards, yet inequalities persist and the school system continues to reflect the country’s economic disparities,” says Temba Mvusi, Head of Market Development at Santam. At the centre of a Safe and Caring Child Friendly School is the revitalisation of teaching and learning in an effectively managed school environment, with the support of a functional and accountable district support base.
Emphasis is also placed on developing capacity at a school leadership level to manage social, environmental and governance issues, and the establishment of after-school sports and recreational activities.
Education is the right of every child
UNICEF South Africa Representative, Aida Girma says, “South Africa’s Constitution guarantees every child the right to basic education. The gross enrolment rate in South African primary schools is close to 100 per cent, but fulfilling children’s right to education requires not just getting all children into school, but also ensuring retention, completion and improved learning outcomes.”
Santam will be looking at how the programme affects school results and the well-being of the learners, and whether these achievements benefit the wider community.
“We are confident in this programme, as UNICEF has worked with provincial departments of education in Limpopo, KwaZulu-Natal, Eastern Cape and Northern Cape to implement the model,” concludes Mvusi.