It has been 38 years since the Soweto uprising where protesting students were shot dead by Apartheid police for protesting Afrikaans as the medium of instruction in local schools. “As we look back on the progress made since democracy we are reminded on this day that we need to do more to improve the quality of education to ensure that our children and youth will be equipped with the knowledge they need to reach their full potential” says Gugu Ndebele Save the Children South Africa CEO. “Some of our most vulnerable learners in South Africa are in schools that mitigate against quality education”.
Save the Children is working in a number of targeted schools in the Free State to “strengthen our schools” by improving the capacity of the school community to provide quality education in a safe environment. The project is investing in teacher training and assisting schools to manage limited resources more effectively. In addition to this Save the Children focuses on family literacy to improve literacy and numeracy for young children. The organisation places special emphasis on early childhood development. In KwaZulu Natal the ECD programme provides crèche accreditation and trains Early Childhood Development practitioners to ensure that vulnerable children younger than 9 receive a good foundation for formal schooling.
For Ms. Ndebele education is the cornerstone of development. “We as South Africans cannot stop fighting for the right to quality education until every child in our country is receiving a decent education irrespective of their socio economic situation. The sacrifice of the brave young school children from Soweto should not be in vain but serve to remind us that more needs to be done to close the gap between rich and poor schools.”