About 30 Metropole North Education District school pupils, teachers and parents concerned about their children’s education results and health are demanding a change.
Together with school principals and community leaders, they held a meeting at New Eisleben High School to discuss ways to improvement on the pupils’ health and matric results.
The idea came to pupils after seeing that there was no progress in their schools’ performances. Pupils from Nelson Mandela and New Eisleben high schools approached eTafeni Day Care Centre Trust to facilitate the dialogue to find a solution.
The pupils made their voices heard during the dialogue. The Grades 10 and 11 pupils shared their views that everyone must take responsibilty to build a community that is safer and less violent.
Pupil Kuhle Kokose made a plea to other pupils to test for all diseases, especially tuberculosis. She said most pupils are often ashamed to get tested but should not be.
“We did a TB drive. We want our peers not to be scared. But we also have concerns regarding our education. We want more knowledge and we are taking our future in our hands by having meetings like this,” she said.
Calling on other pupils to join them, she said the programme has made her ready for matric.
Another pupil from Nelson Mandela High School, Mthandazo Mzini, said pupils from all schools need to unite and help each other. “I am grateful that we have such a platform where we are helped,” he said.
The pupils impressed their teachers and mentors.
Barbara Miller, eTafeni Day Care Centre Trust youth developer, believes the young people who attended the event will go far in life. She said they are motivated and have direction in life.
“These youth are our future. In fact every young person is a part of the future. It is for us to spend time with them building their future. The programme Fit for Life that we have together with the Desmond Tutu Trust gives them that platform. We give support to Grades 10 and 11s in the vicinity of Nyanga and surrounds,” she said.
Ms Miller made a call to parents to support their children. She said in areas where there are social ills, children need to be shown love and guided. “It is up to us to motivate them to be the best. We all know the challenges that Nyanga has. But we must make these children see beyond their areas. In the programme we also encourage them to save and to become entrepreneurs,” said Ms Miller.
Shaun Williams, a mentor and programme co-ordinator for Junior Fit for Life programme prepares young people for their development. Mr Williams said it was exciting to see children discussing their own future.
“The matric results of schools in the townships have been worrying to them. That is one of the things they felt they need to talk about and deal with it thoroughly. They are preparing themselves for the year to come. It is only a matter of time before they do matric,” he said.
He said there are many programmes that involve young people at eTafeni. He said young people are often encouraged to love their books before anything else.