Media Statement: Minister Marais shines the light on after school programmes
As the sun set yesterday, 22 October 2020, a small gathering joined together at the Lavender Hill Shared Sport Facility to celebrate the global “Lights on Afterschool” Campaign. For the first time this year, South Africa is joining Lights On Afterschool, a 20 year old international movement aimed at increasing awareness of the After School sector and its impact on improving learner outcomes.
During the keynote address, Minister Marais said, “For the Department of Cultural Affairs and Sport, the Lights on Afterschool Campaign is of particular importance. The work done by the MOD Programme and Youth and After School Programme Office showcases the department’s investment in ensuring that ultimately every learner in every school in every community across the province will have access to quality After School Programmes.”
After School Programmes (ASPs) are organised activities for children to participate in at the end of their formal school day and include access to diverse programmes ranging from dedicated tutoring, arts and culture, sport and recreation and valuable psycho-social support. These programmes are delivered by a diverse range of practitioners, educators and coaches.
In under-resourced schools, access to comprehensive After School Programmes play a key role in minimising the learning gaps that exist in the educational system and promote school retention.
In the Western Cape alone, there are more than 2000 After School practitioners “our hidden educators” who often do not get the recognition they deserve. These amazing people range from schoolteachers who go above and beyond, to sport and arts coaches and volunteers who work with learners to achieve their dreams. This year has been a challenging year for all, but these hidden educators and organisations have stepped up and risen to the challenges by continuing to serve their communities wherever they can.
In her closing the Minister Marais thanked the local community for the warm welcome, sharing that “this evening we are at a special place, a space of hope and opportunity for the community of Lavender Hill, a symbol of shared space towards improved futures for our children. Through the various After School activities on offer here, learners from this community are given a chance to find their passion, to nurture their dreams, to achieve their full potential and to safely move forward.
The first #LightsOnAfterSchool campaign in South Africa
The #LightsOnAfterSchool campaign was launched by the non-profit US-based organisation Afterschool Alliance, in October 2000. The organisation calls on ASP partners throughout the world to generate awareness of equal and quality access to After School Programmes.
Spokesperson for the Minister of Cultural Affairs and Sport, Anroux Marais
083 504 1171