Bid to address the needs of poor pupils

Sne Masuku

Sne Masuku

The KwaZulu-Natal department of education has appointed 50 schools in the province as referral centres where pupils will access health screenings, social grants, decent housing and other social necessities.

This was revealed during a seminar hosted by the provincial department of education in Durban yesterday.

The aim was to discuss a range of integrated intervention roles that government departments can play to make sure that pupils can be assisted if they are infected and affected by HIV-Aids, poverty and abuse.

"Schools have to provide care and support for the children and teachers as well as address all forms of barriers to learning and development," said Education MEC Ina Cronjé.

She said it was important how her department - through various government programmes - responds to the needs of pupils .

Cronjé said while her department can assist poor pupils by exempting them from school fees, it does not help if the child lives with an unemployed uncle who has a drinking problem and may even rape her.

Thobile Sifunda, a manager in the special needs education services , said the province has high HIV- Aids cases , resulting in the rise of child-headed homes.