It was a joyous occasion when parents from Kuyasa and Ummnangaliso primary schools completed an intensive two-month literacy training programme conducted by the Mellon Educare organisation, on Tuesday October 11.
The programme was aimed at assisting parents to play an active role in their children’s school work and enabling them to improve their relationships with their children.
As part of the programme, parents would bring their children to school and remain at the school to attend the programme -and leave at the end of the school day.
A total of 34 parents from both schools gathered at Kuyasa Primary School hall to receive their certificates. Smiles from ecstatic parents lit up the hall as they each walked on to the stage.
Senior education specialist at Mellon Educare organisation, Alison van Breda, said the current education system required parents’ full involvement in their children’s school work. However, she said, this was difficult for many parents.
Ms Van Breda said it was important for parents to be equipped with the necessary skills to help their children.
She said the programme focused on the importance of strengthening the relationship between parents and children and that parents were urged to use games that they played when they were young, to develop their children.
Ms Van Breda said they realised that when the programme had been conducted after school hours, parents were unable to attend.
“Children need all the support they could get to become better people in the future. Learning and teaching is not the duty of the school and teachers only. The relationship between the child and parents has been improved. Any time can be a learning time,” she said.
Now that the parents had finished their course, she said, they wanted to turn their focus on teachers, empowering them with improved teaching skills and the ability to train more parents so that the programme becomes sustainable.
Parent Vuyokazi Makili said her relationship with her two boys had changed and the programme had made her realise that she needed to spend more time with them. She said she had previously spent most of her time watching television and did not make a meaningful contribution to her children’s school work.
The 34-year-old mother said the programme opened her eyes and equipped her with valuable and life-changing skills.
Ms Makili said she wanted to share the knowledge she had gained with other parents so that they could also improve their relationship with their children.
“I have created a timetable so that we can have time for everything. I no longer spend my time on WhatsApp and Facebook,” she said.
Lynn Coleridge, director of policy co-ordination and advisor in the office of Education MEC Debbie Schafer, said education was the key to unlocking opportunities for children and defeating poverty.
She said one of the key strategies for the department of education was to improve language and maths. Ms Coleridge said she was glad that parents were taking the initiative to improve their children’s education.