A Care and Support for Teaching and Learning (CSTL) conference was held at the East London Institute from 4 to 6 March 2013, with excellent results already being achieved.
The CSTL ensures access, retention and survival of learners and teachers within the education system, by creating safety nets of care and support, to ultimately achieve a conducive environment for academic excellence in schools of the Eastern Cape.
Schools in the Eastern Cape get vandalized, learners go hungry, learners and teachers are unsafe, no proper hygiene at schools, drug abuse and so the list goes on, but the Eastern Cape Department of Education (ECDoE) did not just sit around and watch, they put their 2007 plan into action and are already reaping the results of their hard labour.
Districts started implementing CSTL at their schools as early as 2007, addressing the basic needs of both teachers and vulnerable learners. Schools take it upon themselves to implement this programme with the help of the department, community and sister departments.
Some districts have achieved unremarkable results such as:
Have fully fenced their schools to reduce vandalism.
Have a full time security guard on duty to protect both the people there and the building.
Have a fully-fledged School Nutrition programme running daily to feed all learners a nutritional meal.
Have a police officer on the school grounds during school hours to protect learners from drug lauds.
Have activities and clubs teaching learners about health issues, pregnancy, drugs, HIV etc.
All aspects get taken care of through the ten pillars of the ECDoE CSTL Programme, which are:
Governance & Response Management
Safety and Protection
Infrastructure, water & Sanitation
Social Welfare services
All 23 districts presented as to what has improved in their schools since the CSTL programme was introduced, they had outstanding displays of photos and projects which have been done, and were judged on a few criteria. The overall best practice districts observed were:
All districts understood the 10 pillars of CSTL
Most files were well prepared and displays were well organized
Most districts made very good efforts with burners, CDs, evidence of photos, reports and referrals
Good partnerships and collaboration with other stakeholders in implementing CSTL programme.
Department of Education's Acting Superintendent General Mthnywa Ngonzo said, "We must not theorise until we die, we need to put theory into action and policies into practice." This is exactly what this programme is all about.
Issued by: Eastern Cape Education