26 June 2013

South Africa: Basic Education Deputy Minister Leads the Charge to Rid Our Schools of Drugs and Alcohol

press release

The value of collective effort was evident in the East Rand township of Vosloorus when the Deputy Minister of Basic Education Enver Surty, children from 11 schools, and the community braved the winter chill on a Saturday morning to commemorate the International Day against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking at Phineas Xulu Secondary School.

The school was selected as the venue for the commemoration because of the challenges that it had faced in the past but has now overcome, through the collective interventions of the department, the school SGB, parents and indeed the community.

The Deputy Minister was joined by the schools' SGBs, Learner representatives, Brigadier Masha of the Vosloorus SAPS, as well as Ms N Albino, Chief of Education at UNICEF.

The sentiments of eradicating this scourge from our schools were articulated by all the speakers who spoke of their responsibilities in the quest to make our schools and communities Drug Free Zones. Brigadier Masha of the Vosloorus SAPS spoke of the importance of parents' commitment to working with the schools to ensure that their children were able to drive the change amongst their peers and in their schools.

"As the Police of Vosloorus we commit to eradicating the scourge of drugs with the help of the community" said brigadier Masha. He further affirmed his commitment by giving out his mobile number to the community to ensure that learners were able to get in touch with him at any time of the day should they need help.

Ms N Albino, Chief of Education at UNICEF, spoke of her positive impressions of the collective, cohesive and well oiled partnerships forged by all parties in the fight against drug use particularly in our schools. "There is a big fight ahead, we will walk with you until the taps of drugs run dry" she said.

The Department of Basic Education's commitment to eradicating drugs in our schools has long been a priority. This is evident in the development of school safety policies, which included linking schools to SAPS Stations, the establishment of school based support teams and school dialogues amongst learners and educators in collaboration with Soul City.

The strategy is guided by four pillars which define and underpin the department's fight against drugs.

The creation of an Enabling Environment

Primary Prevention

Early Detection

Treatment Care and Support

"We as a nation must create a caring and compassionate society as well as communities that are drug free, to truly unlock and release the potential of our societies" said Deputy Minister Surty.

The statistics around drug and alcohol use amongst our communities' youngest citizens speak of deep societal challenges that, should we wish to see the end of this scourge, must be addressed.

"The value of collective efforts is evident in what we see here today; it cannot be the sole responsibility of schools to eradicate this scourge" the deputy minister said in closing.

The DBE wishes to see these kinds of collective efforts and initiatives take hold and kick in so as to eradicate the use of drugs in our schools.

Issued by: Department of Basic Education

26 Jun 2013

Issued by: Department of Basic Education

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