Remarks by Deputy Representative, Muriel Mafico at the reopening of rebuilt Siphosihle Primary School, Ntuzuma, KwaZulu-Natal

As prepared for delivery

19 October 2022

A very good morning to you all and I am very pleased to be with you here today at Siphosethu Secondary School.

Allow me, from the outset, to acknowledge the contribution of the Procter & Gamble Company and P&G South Africa to support the United Nations Children’s Fund KwaZulu Natal school rebuild programme.

Your commitment to support UNICEF’s rehabilitation and repair of five schools is part of a focused intervention on infrastructural repairs and development, which are aligned with the Department of Basic Education’s mandate of working towards rebooting, recovering and build back better. Today is also a reminder of the need to place the community at the centre of the school.

Education is a source of personal dignity and empowerment and a driving force for the advancement of social, economic, political, and cultural development – indeed education is the great enabler.

As we emerge from the COVID-19 pandemic, the ‘learning recovery’ is a key priority of UNICEF, both nationally and globally as we work with our partners to meet the Sustainable Development Goals and to realise the vision of South Africa’s National Development Plan.

Some thirty years after global commitments to ensure Education for All, nearly half of all children of the world are not enrolled in pre-primary education. And despite the notable gains here in South Africa, real challenges persist with regard to access to quality education.

Our first task is swift and targeted action to recover the learning losses inflicted by the COVID-19 pandemic and other disruptions, particularly on marginalized groups. We must ensure that learning empowers individuals and societies to both reshape the present and lead us to a more just, sustainable, resilient, and peaceful future.

A truly transformative education should promote the holistic development of all learners throughout their lives, supporting them to realize their aspirations and to contribute their families, communities, and societies.

Education transformation requires the collective commitment and action of visionary political leaders at all levels, parents, students, teachers, and the public at large.  And in all of this, young people must be the heartbeat of this effort, leveraging their voices, experiences, knowledge, and agency.

As United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres declared at the recent Transforming Education Global Summit: “If we are to transform our world by 2030 as envisaged by the Sustainable Development Goals, then we must respond decisively, with conviction, imagination, and in solidarity to transform education.”

On that note I once again thank our P&G partners and all of you for your commitment to education and to a better future for the children of this community.

Media contacts

Sudeshan Reddy
Communication Specialist
UNICEF South Africa
Tel: +27 82 561 3970
Toby Fricker
Chief of Communication & Partnerships
UNICEF South Africa
Tel: +27 61 418 7486


UNICEF works in some of the world’s toughest places, to reach the world’s most disadvantaged children. Across more than 190 countries and territories, we work for every child, everywhere, to build a better world for everyone.

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