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Making care and support for teaching and learning a reality

UNICEF South Africa/2018/Hearfield
© UNICEF South Africa/2018/Hearfield
The Grade 3A class at Pitso Tolo Primary School.

Pretoria, 13 June 2018 - All children and adolescents need care and support so that they can develop, participate and contribute to society. Globally and in South Africa, UNICEF is therefore actively involved in advancing and protecting the rights of the most vulnerable children and adolescents so that they can thrive.

These necessary interventions are contained under a comprehensive, coordinated, multi-sectoral response called the Care and Support for Teaching and Learning programme (CSTL), also known as Child Friendly Schools within UNICEF. In collaboration with the Department of Basic Education and the non-governmental organization MIET AFRICA, UNICEF South Africa hosted the Inaugural National CSTL Conference in Pretoria under the theme “Consolidating our collective efforts”.

Approximately 230 delegates ranging from CSTL policy implementers, policy makers, policy influencers, learners, and educators participated in two days of deliberations on the key interventions needed to ensure a holistic and supportive education for children.

The purpose of the conference was to share the nationally-adopted framework for CSTL and to provide an opportunity for role-players to showcase the range of initiatives currently being implemented in schools under the ten priority areas of CSTL in order to strengthen co-ordination and collaboration. 

UNICEF South Africa/2018/Reddy
© UNICEF South Africa/2018/Reddy
Minister of Basic Education, Ms. Angie Motshekga addresses the opening of the CSTL Conference in Pretoria on 12 June 2018.

In her address, South Africa’s Minister of Basic Education, Ms. Angie Motshekga noted her Governments appreciation for the support provided to the DBE by UNICEF and acknowledged that “your international experience has been invaluable to us.”

Among the issues discussed included the strengthening education systems so that all children and adolescents can access, attend and complete school, interventions needed to transform schools into inclusive centres of learning, care and support as well as tools to advance political will, government leadership and community participation.

The keynote speaker Prof Donald Bundy from theLondon School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine advised that South Africa has the right mix of care and support interventions but that what is needed now is to expand coverage and improve the quality of programmes. He also emphasized the need for a heightened focus on adolescents, stating that the first 1000 days of life are critical but to ensure human capital development, support must be extended to the next 7000 days of life (until 21 years of age). He also urged the country to strengthen its focus on the mental health of adolescents.

Underlying all this is the need, as consistently advanced by UNICEF, to ensure that the voices of children are heard.

 

 

 

 

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