MEC Creecy says families need help to support children better in schools
29 May 2011
Gauteng Education MEC Barbara Creecy urged family workshop facilitators to help families understand simple ways to help children do better at school.
Addressing over 500 facilitators at the Central Johannesburg District Office in Pimville, Soweto on Sunday morning, MEC Creecy said she was encouraged by the enthusiasm of over 5 000 parents who attended the first weekend of workshops throughout Gauteng.
The workshops will run every Saturday until October and target families of learners in the 1 183 under-performing primary and high schools to provide them with skills to support their children at school.
MEC Creecy said these workshops had never been tried before and were a social experiment aimed at providing social cohesion in schools. She said society had changed radically over time, from village to urban life. We no longer have large families in Gauteng but smaller families made up of a single adult and two children.
There are also challenges of the 21st century that present difficulties for parenting such as social media and the increased availability of information through different media.
"What we are trying to do is to work with a powerful force: the human will to solve problems. We want to say to parents that there is nothing in the laws of our country that prevent them from parenting. If we say don't beat up children to death, we should not go to the other extreme where children do anything they like and parents become powerless and are ruled by little thugs.
"What is clear is that if you are not able to get control of children before they are 10 years old, then you are really going to struggle when they are 12 years old or 16 years old. You must set the rules early and children must know that there are consequences for breaking the rules," Creecy said.
She said many families were faced by poverty and deprivation. They are, however, still able to impart good values in their children so that people in the community are able to say that child is from a good family. "That's what we want, to empower families to be good families in the midst of tough circumstances," Creecy said.
MEC Creecy explained that all the interventions and support provided by the department should be seen as the contents of a three legged pot. The three legs are learners, educators and parents. If one of the legs is broken, it will negatively impact on the interventions and the education of children. The family workshops, therefore, are motivated by the need to involve parents in the schooling life of their children.
When children come back from school, parents should ask them how school was so as to open a discussion with children around the challenges or problems they might be facing at school.
The second question is whether children have homework, and parents can then create space for homework to be done. Where a child is struggling, and the parent is unable to help, the parent should set up an appointment with the class teacher to discuss the kind of support needed to improve performance.
Parents of young children can also play simple games with their children during dinner such as counting the number of plates at the table or making them read passages in their school texts. Such games support and reinforce numeracy and literacy skills from a young age.
MEC Creecy said the department was looking at launching a programme, as part of the Extended Public Works Programme (EPWP), to recruit three to five out of school youths who would assist with the supervision of homework. The assistance would take place after school hours but at school.
Facilitators said they found the workshops particularly enlightening and parents were making very profound points around their involvement with school work and school life.
More family workshop will take place in Gauteng every Saturday until October. School principals will be able to provide more information on workshop venues or please contact 011 355 0000 or log onto www.education.gpg.gov.za.
For more information contact:
Tel: 011 355 1530
Cell: 071 860 4496
Issued by: Gauteng Education
29 May 2011
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