Plans to Keep Western Cape Youth Occupied Over the June/July Holidays
Joint Media Release by Minister of Social Development, Albert Fritz, Minister of Cultural Affairs and Sport, Nomafrench Mbombo, Minister of Community Safety, Dan Plato and Minister of Education, Debbie Schafer
The Western Cape Government is today announcing steps that we will be taking in order to ensure that our young people remain safe during the school holiday period.
Young people often make unhealthy and risky lifestyle choices because they have limited access to recreational opportunities. This is particularly the case in high crime and gang activity areas.
We believe that by providing recreational and education opportunities to young people, over and above what they are provided during school hours, it will improve their long term physical well-being, confidence and prevent them from engaging in anti-social and risky behaviour.
That is why during the upcoming school holidays, the Western Cape Government will implement various programmes through different departments across the province to keep our youths positively engaged, entertained and safeguarded when they are at a greater risk of exposure to substance abuse, drugs, violence and gangsterism.
The following departments will be providing school holiday programmes:
The Western Cape Education Department (WCED) has a number of winter holiday programmes for Grade 12 learners and will be running workshops across the province for our educators.
Some of the highlights include:
Grade 12 Holiday Programme
Providing curriculum support to our Grade 12 learners is always a priority, particularly in schools where learners are struggling in specific subjects. During the upcoming holidays, the WCED has organised holiday study programmes at 166 of our high schools. The “winter schools” aim to assist learners in high enrolment subjects. These subjects include Mathematics, Physical Science, Geography, Life Sciences, Accounting and Economics.
Many of the programmes on offer will be taught by tutors selected by the provincial department. In some schools, curriculum advisors will be supporting and assisting individual school programmes. Additional resource materials have been developed to complement the lessons being presented.
The dates of each school’s programme differ. Some schools have offered programmes on specific days, while others, throughout the holiday period. Information on these programmes has been sent directly to schools.
Safe Schools Holiday Programme
It is also important that learners are kept safe and occupied during the school holiday period.
A number of stakeholders have come on board to assist us with various educational and fun activities to achieve this objective. This programme will start on 7 July 2014 and will includes various government departments, the City of Cape Town, the Cape Town Metro Police, the South African Police Service (SAPS), WECTAC Leadership Academy; the Goliath Dance Academy, Brainwave Projects, Hazendal Civic Organisation (HAZCOR), South African National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence (SANCA), Fynbos Consultancy, K-Dag and Out Eden.
Educational Programmes on offer will cover important topics such as substance abuse, HIV/Aids, sexual abuse and teenage pregnancy seminars, workshops on conflict and drug abuse, peer pressure, leadership and communications courses, as well as debating and reading sessions. Information on these programmes has been sent directly to schools.
In order to protect our schools from burglary and vandalism over the holiday period, the WCED’s Safe Schools directorate has arranged increased security at some of our high risk identified schools.
495 schools will receive either 24-hour security or will benefit from cluster patrols. We remind all schools that have alarm systems to test their systems to ensure that they are in working order before they shut their schools.
We also ask every community member to help their schools by reporting any suspicious behaviour in and around our schools immediately to the police.
The school holidays will also see the ongoing professional development and training of our educators, a priority for this government.
Through the Cape Teaching and Leadership Institute (CTLI), the Department will host a number of teacher training and development programmes.
From 30 June – 18 July 2014, the WCED will kick off the seventh year of the literacy and numeracy intervention programme. The Literacy and Numeracy Intervention involves the participation of all educators in grades 1 to 6 who teach languages and mathematics in all public primary schools. The intervention makes use of the expertise of specialists in language and mathematics teaching, in collaboration with trained WCED curriculum advisers and includes continual holiday training, support, mentoring and coaching in language and mathematics.
Cultural Affairs and Sport
The Department of Cultural Affairs and Sports prides itself on its Mass Participation Opportunity and Development (MOD) Centres which we implemented four years ago in partnership with schools and communities.
The idea behind our MOD centres is to ensure that learners have a place where they can play sport, participate in cultural activities and study after school hours.
Through our research we found that learners come from various home backgrounds, some of which are not conducive to studying after school. Many of these young people also come from high-risk areas where there is no adult supervision after formal school hours.
We currently have181 MOD centres across the province. Because of the great demand for a safe space to play and learn- the Western Cape Government has decided to open these centres during the school holidays to ensure that learners continue to enjoy access to these centres throughout the year.
DCAS currently has MOD centres in all nine education districts of the province, each equipped with well-trained and accredited coaches. They offer a variety of sports codes which include: netball, volleyball, table tennis, soccer and rugby.
Some of our young people who have been attending the MOD centres have gone on to do great things in the world of sports. Many learners who attend our MOD centres have also improved their grades. That is why DCAS continues to fund this programme and intends expanding its reach in the future.
The Department of Social Development in partnership with DCAS has also ring-fenced funds to supply our learners at the MOD centres with healthy meals (this is over and above the feeding scheme run by the Western Cape Department of Education). This is one way of ensuring that all learners- no matter their socio economic background - have access to healthy meals on a daily basis.
Our centres are open every weekday, from 09:00 until 14:00 during the school holiday period. This is five hours of constructive and holistic learning for our young people.
Soon we will be launching the MOD programme’s exciting new initiative called the “Youth Gap Year” volunteer programme. This initiative involves top matric and university graduates, locally and internationally, volunteering to tutor learners in our MOD centres after formal school hours.
This new aspect of the MOD programme will truly breathe life to our vision of a socially inclusive, creative and active environment that will also be conducive for learning for our young people.
Parents and learners can find out more about the MOD programme and the centres in their area by visiting http://www.westerncape.gov.za/general-publication/mod-programme
The Department of Social Development’s Metro East, Metro North, West Coast, and Cape Winelands regions are offering educational sessions with our various partners, such as Lovelife, the SAPS, ABSA, the City of Cape Town, the Department of Education, Cultural Affairs and Sport, and Community Safety.
Over 1 000 young people will benefit from our programmes, and the aim is to engage them on issues which affect their current lives, and offering them resources and avenues for support and development.
In addition to the activities planned by the Department, the Minister has initiated a special project called the Youth Engagement Programme to be held on the 6-10 July in Plettenberg Bay. The Ministry in partnership with the Bitou Municipality, selected 17 young people from Cape Town and its surrounding areas, and 12 young people from the Bitou Municipal area to meet and exchange ideas at a get-away.
Some of the activities will include an entrepreneurial skills development session with ABSA bank, and a painting session at the SterreWeg School for the Disabled.
The young people chosen are all taking part in other government initiatives for youth, and were drawn from the MOD Centres, interns from the Department, Grassroots Soccer, and the City of Cape Town.
The Department of Community Safety has both ongoing and targeted youth programmes and interventions.
The Youth Safety and religion Partnership Programme (YSRP) is a flagship initiative of the Department of Community Safety (DoCS) aimed specifically at increasing safety through implementing targeted anti-social behaviour and youth initiatives in partnership with the religious fraternity of the province.
The programme supports the whole-of-society approach of DoCS. The initiatives hosted by various religious institutions have to be educational and aimed at building self-esteem, confidence, and assist the youth to acquire knowledge and develop positive life-skills.
In December 2012, 48 institutions were co funded and they successfully implemented youth safety interventions in 34 priority areas; reaching a total of 11 623 youths. The programme was replicated during the 2013 Easter holidays through 21 religious institutions in 16 priority areas reaching more than 5 000 youths.
The Department of Community Safety has made available R1.6 million for the YSRP during the upcoming June/July school holidays. The funding will be in support of 84 religious institutions in 11 towns outside the Metro and 27 areas within the City of Cape Town intended to reach more than 14 000 youths.
High priority communities where programmes will be available for the youth include:
- Suburbs inside the Metro: Nyanga, Gugulethu, Khayelitsha, Mitchells Plain, Atlantis, Elsies River, Kraaifontein, Manenberg, Grassy Park, Hanover Park, Bonteheuwel, Delft, Lavender Hill and Macassar; and
- Towns outside the Metro: Villiersdorp, Saldanha, Dysselsdorp, Vredenburg, Touwsrivier, Paarl, De Doorns, Grabouw, George, Worcester, as well as Ceres.
The activities on offer by the religious institutions vary from sporting activities, hiking, song, dance, drama and cultural activities to movie screenings and youth dialogues. On offer are also workshops, first aid classes, basic counselling training and exhibitions.
Most of the activities address drugs and substance abuse awareness, crime prevention, gangsterism prevention or life skills and training opportunities. The objectives of these are to build self-esteem among the youth, provide for peer education, prevent gang recruitments and educate our youths on the dangers of alcohol and drugs. More information on the YSRP programme can be found on the department’s website,www.westerncape.gov.za/dept/community-safety , or by contacting Amelia Pieters by dialling 021 483 3971; or via email email@example.com .
Other departmental initiatives, such as the Further Education and Training (FET) College bursary initiative, Chrysalis Youth Development Programme and Wolwekloof Youth Development Programme receive continuous support from the provincial department with extensive work being done throughout the year in communities to provide better alternatives to our youths, better together.
The Western Cape Government is committed to providing opportunities for the youth of our province throughout the year, not only during Youth month. That is why today we have announced what some of our provincial departments will be doing in order to ensure the safety of young people during the upcoming holiday period.
We believe it is important that our government departments do not work in silos but collaborate on programmes that have a holistic approach to improve safety, education outcomes and access to social welfare in our communities.
We also believe that governments’ cannot achieve these objectives by themselves. Our holiday programmes demonstrates the importance of government departments and institutions, business and civil society working together in this regard.
Most importantly, government cannot compensate for the role that responsible, committed parents must play in the lives of their children. That is the bedrock of a functional society
We therefore call on parents to take responsibility for their children’s safety during the school holiday period and ensure they are kept off the streets and away from alcohol, drugs and gangs.
We wish all our young people a pleasant and safe holiday period and we hope they return refreshed and ready to tackle the second half of the school year.