Mashudu Makhokha, Lapalala Wilderness School | October 14, 2020
The Secretary General of the United Nation has referred to the COVID-19 pandemic as “like an X- Ray”, meaning that it has exposed the deep-seated systemic, structural inequalities that exist in society globally and particularly in the impoverished communities in the continent of Africa. This has been manifested in the education system, with millions of learners experiencing learning loss.
LWS has been helping to mitigate this learning loss through community radio station programmes, and by supporting teaching and learning at six schools, four high schools and two primary schools. This programme has helped in reducing the high number of drop-outs from school and has improved the prospect of future livelihood of those who are continuing to learn during these difficult times. Other manifestations which we are confronted with as Educators during this time is the rise of gender base violence, food insecurity, digital inequality, rise in teenage pregnancy and drop-outs from formal learning institutions.
Here is a summary of some of the activities undertaken at LWS.
Center-based activities: On 06 October 2020 LWS welcomed 18 grade 12 leaners for a supporting learning camp from Moepel High School, which is found close to the east gate of the Reserve. This camp will run for a month just before their final examination.
Public speaking competition: Although the 2020 competition was reduced to 20 children from 10 schools, the standard was high. The competition theme was focussed on rhinos. There is no doubt that the participation of these young people in the competition is a great way of starting a conversation in the local communities about rhino poaching and biodiversity conservation.
- The names of the top four and the prizes they received are as follows:
John Chauke (Leseding Secondary School, Vaalwater), Laptop.2. Sikalo Mmatshwene (Lemetja Secondary School, Ga – Dipere village), Voucher for a school Uniform for R3,000.
- Ephraim Pontsho Ramashita (Nkgoru Secondary School, Ga – Nkgoru Village), Voucher for R2,000 for study aid material.
- Fortunate Maphuthi Malope (George Langa Secondary School, Marulaneng Village), Voucher for R1,500 for stationary materials.
Radio Programmes: This digital education intervention has been very successful to mitigate the loss of learning and expanding the implementation of Education for Sustainable Development (ESD), both in terms of strategic innovation, and pedagogy renewal in all nine community radio station to create an awareness of a sustainable development livelihood. In this reporting period the highlight of our programme has been the climate change education, which was practice-based and supported by indigenous knowledge of the participants.
Networking and strengthening relations: In October there are two meetings scheduled to explore collaboration, one with Southern African Wildlife College to explore interchange or swapping of programmes to support one another on the nurturing of the future conservation champions, and the other meeting will be with University of Venda to strengthen our working relationship and reviewing of the Memorandum of Understanding. A new programme which focuses on Sustainable School development in partnership with Cape Town Environmental Education Trust (CTEET), is still in its developmental stage, and the LWS is looking forward to joining this initiative.
Social Media: LWS continues to increase the fanbase through a campaign running through our Facebook page. We are developing more interactive videos for our stakeholders to continue engaging with us during this Lockdown period.
New School Site: Good progress has been made with the final plans for all buildings at the new school site, and construction of the access road will get underway before the end of 2020.