Everyone Wins When Children, Especially Girls, Have Access To Education

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Lerato Khateane

According to statistics from the provincial Department of Health in the Free State, approximately 150 girls between the ages of 10 and 14 gave birth between June and October 2022. Additionally, it was reported that about 2100 young girls terminated pregnancies between the ages of 10 and 19 (SABC News online: 22 October 2022). Investing in the education of girls has the added benefit of delaying early marriage and parenthood among young girls.

Acknowledging the intricate link between education and the economy, Free State Premier Mxolisi Dukwana spearheaded a comprehensive Back to School Campaign. This initiative engaged all Executive Members and Senior Management personnel within the Free State provincial Government, who collectively visited schools to assess the hurdles confronting educators, parents, and students.

Member of the Executive Council (MEC) for the Department of Economic, Small Business Development, Tourism and Environmental Affairs (DESTEA), and acting MEC for the Department of Social Development in the Free State – Mr Thabo Meeko, visited two schools at Viljoenskroon in Moqhaka Local Municipality, namely: Rehauhetswe Secondary School and D.R Sello Primary School.

He was joined by Dr. Mbulelo Nokwequ, the (Head of Department) HOD of DESTEA,  and Officials from both the Departments he is leading, including the local Councillors, Municipal Officials, and Senior Officials from Fezile Dabi District Department of Education.

Throughout these visits, school bags were distributed, accompanied by assurances to learners of receiving additional supplies based on identified needs by designated Educators. The MEC emphasised the Government’s commitment to meeting all learners’ educational requirements, including school uniforms, to foster unity and equity across educational institutions.

For three consecutive years, the Free State has delivered top Matric results. MEC Meeko underscored the paramount importance of fortifying the foundation phase to uphold these standards. This steadfast commitment aims to equip students with the skills to seamlessly integrate into society and become contributing citizens, essential for nurturing a sustainable and brighter future.

Education serves as a catalyst for heightened productivity, enhanced creativity, and the fostering of entrepreneurship and technical innovation. To propel our nation towards realising its full potential and assuming a prominent position in Africa and the global sphere, the seeds of education must not only be planted but also nurtured. This concerted effort is imperative to ensure the country’s sustained economic prosperity and stability.

“Our booming economies in Africa need more female engineers, teachers, and doctors to prosper and sustain growth.” – Angelique Kidjo

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