PSYCHOSOCIAL SUPPORT PROVIDED FOR SCHOOL LEARNERS NEGATIVELY IMPACTED BY COVID
A support programme designed to assist over 800 learners at schools with high dropout risk rates, within the Nama Khoi Municipal area, is underway. Having kicked off in July 2021, this programme, which will run until March 2022, supports Grades 3 through to Grade 12 learners on a psychological, social, emotional, and educational level.
In conjunction with the Northern Cape Department of Education, Kangnas Wind Farm, is funding this programme as it supports its socio-economic development programme, which has a core focus on improving educational performance through quality educational support services. It is believed that a direct benefit of this programme will be to improve student class attendance and enhance learner participation.
“High levels of anxiety and academic pressure resulting from the CV-19 health pandemic, has resulted in poor school performance. In response, we decided to support these learners by implementing a program that would support them,” explained Rouchet Daniels, Economic Development Manager for Kangnas Wind Farm.
Teachers and learners are the biggest driving forces of quality education and thus their academic performance in school is dependent on their mental health, abilities, and commitment.
“Through the psycho support team, we had excellent results in social issues resulting from the pandemic and especially interruption to the normal schooling activities. It was incredible that during it all, the learners had the support of caring empathetic social staff who were there 24/7. We appreciate the support, and we are grateful that so many kids could be helped. Thanks to the sessions, our Matriculants were able to calmly sit their exams and effectively apply strategies taught,” said Marlene Bailey, teacher at Okiep High School.
According to Henry B Van Wyk, Principal at SA Van Wyk High School, the pandemic affected their school in many ways, including lowering teacher morale and negatively impacting students’ mental health.
“Learners have been unmotivated in part because they are not in school every day. As a result of the CV-19 health pandemic, we have had difficulty reaching parents regularly to discuss certain topics, including the academy and school fees,” he said.
“Our school is fed by an extremely poor community where many learners do not have a support network. This programme builds on our children’s self-esteem and human dignity and can make a difference to their future. I really appreciate this program,” added Principal Van Wyk.
Services provided as part of the programme include counselling, motivation, mentoring and coaching, as well as COVID Trauma Debriefing and Counselling; home visits; teacher support; study skills and techniques; cognitive brain performance; and career guidance.
The following schools benefited from the programme: Matjieskloof Primary School; St Anna Private High School; Springbok Primary School; Namakwaland High School; SA Van Wyk High School; Dr Izak Van Niekerk Primary School; Okiep High School; Okiep Primary School; Concordia High School; Concordia Primary School; Sacred Heart Primary School; St Cyprians Primary School; Nababeep High School; Carolusberg Primary School.