By Nomali Cele
The festive season is well and truly over. Most of us are already back at work and soon, the roads will be clogged with school traffic. While the back to school adverts may have started on Boxing Day, it’s only now starting to sink in that it’s almost time to get back to reality. Most pupils will be starting the new school year on shiny new foot with new uniforms and school accessories but not everyone has that privilege. Luckily, there’s something you can do about it!
Five Ways to help underprivileged learners this new school year
While shirts, shorts and skirts can be affordable, other important parts of school uniforms are not. It’s heartbreaking to see a learner looking unkempt because a part of their uniform is so old it’s falling apart. Things like school shoes and jerseys can be hard to come by for some families. Consider donating your children’s old (but still useable) uniforms to their schools so the school can assign them to learners who need them
Stationery or classroom requirements
If you’ve been a parent of a child in a lower grade then you know all the many requirements. If your child is now just entering school then you’re in for a surprise — preschool party packs are not the end of this that you’re expected to bring to class. Of course, these requirements are so the teacher isn’t left paying for the little (but important) things such as tissues and hand sanitiser and more.
Adopt a grade R class from an underprivileged school and pay for their class supplies for a term or two. It will benefit the learners and will be a weight lifted off the teacher and parents’ shoulders.
Research supports the belief that students can’t concentrate or retain what they learn when there are hungry or aren’t getting the required nutrients. 2017 was a precarious year when it came to school feeding schemes, especially in KZN. Even when schools have feeding schemes, things such as fresh vegetables, dairy and fruit are hard to come by.
This would likely be expensive for an individual but getting a group of friends together to adopt a feeding scheme and provide them with fruit is doable.
Menstruation is hard, some people spend the days of their menstruation feeling physically ill – from pain, which we expect, to IBS and vomiting. For most underprivileged learners this is the least of their worries. The lack of access to pads is such a problem that learners who don’t have painful periods still miss school because they don’t have sanitary items.
This is more than about making sure learners don’t miss school. It’s about giving them their dignity.
When it comes to our education system, there’s no arguing that the bad news keeps piling on. If it isn’t our low performance in STEM then it’s the fact that 54% of grade four learners can’t understand what they read. These are the sorts of problem that can benefit from hands-on help. Tomorrow, the department of basic education will announce the 2017 matric results. After we are done being outraged at the failing system, let’s get to work.
Education is one of the few ways we can begin to make this country equal. We can’t afford to wait much longer for the government to make things right, there’s work to be done.
Tweet us on @KayaFM95dot9 and tell us, how are you helping underprivileged learners this back to school?