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South Africa: National Assembly Speaker Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula touched by Makhanda learners

President Mapisa-Nqakula touched by Makhanda learners

Makhanda learners need increased support to overcome many societal challenges and achieve better academic results than last year’s matric achievement improvements.

These are the views and aspirations expressed by more than 180 learners during National Assembly Speaker Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula’s outreach program held at the Settlers Monument in Makhanda on Monday, April 11, 2022.

Learners took turns to articulate the challenges of high levels of poverty, mental illness, unemployment, substance abuse, poor sanitation and poor school infrastructure that limit their ability to realize their full human potential in the generally underserved district. -developed from Makhanda.

The first day of the President’s two-day outreach program in Makhanda was animated with representatives of learners boldly declaring their appreciation for the commitments and challenges they face in the schools and in the communities in which they live. They also made various suggestions for solutions that Parliament should consider and implement to create a more conducive environment for even better education and training outcomes in the years to come.

Learner representatives informed the President and other MPs that most schools in the area had never been renovated since their construction, some had been built around 40 years ago and were in poor condition. They cited drug addiction, toxic masculinity and teenage pregnancies as some of the causes of school dropout and crime levels. Vandalism in schools also emerged as a major problem which learners say deprives them of opportunities to have decent school facilities.

One of the learners’ representatives, Sikelelwa Maneli, said that many child-headed households also contribute to school dropout rates, as many learners chose to seek employment to earn money to support themselves. needs of their family:

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The absence or lack of access to counseling services in many schools and communities, compounded by the stigma of mental illness, were listed as other inhibitors to youth development that the government should prioritise, such as the learner Bebe Banyard said:

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Learners condemned the toxic masculinity that has contributed to aggravating Gender-Based Violence (GBV), and advocated for positive masculinity to be taught and encouraged among young boys in schools to prevent the scourge, while strengthening the fight against violence against women and children. .

President Mapisa-Nqakula said Parliament’s presence in Makhanda was part of revamping methods of better connecting with children and young people, working closely with other legislative bodies in the provinces and local municipalities, to implement the mandate of promoting citizen participation in law-making and the executive. surveillance. . She said that the needs and aspirations of young people must be at the heart not only of state institutions, but of all actors in society in order to improve their quality of life and a better future.

“Policy makers, ministries, implementing agencies, the private sector and community organizations should be involved in supporting the qualitative development of our children from the earliest stages of life,” the president said.

President Mapisa-Nqakula’s two-day outreach program includes the revival of the remodeled Makhanda Parliamentary Constituency Office (PCO) as an extension of Parliament at the grassroots level. President Mapisa-Nqakula said PCOs must progressively ensure a beneficial parliamentary presence, especially in deeply rural and under-resourced local communities.