Minister a no-show at school event

2016-08-03 06:00
THE principal of the Steynville High School, Senzo Mpalala (left) and the Vukasizwe Primary School’s principal, Liziwe Yawa. Photos: Boipelo Mere

THE principal of the Steynville High School, Senzo Mpalala (left) and the Vukasizwe Primary School’s principal, Liziwe Yawa. Photos: Boipelo Mere

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THE Minister of the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI), Rob Davies, pulled a no-show after people and learners of the Steynville High School waited for him for hours for the long-awaited Mandela Day celebrations he was supposed to share with them.

The minister was expected to partner with various provincial departments who had erected stalls at the school to display their various roles and services.

However, the minister’s absence did not prevent the officials from the DTI from delivering the promised computers and laptops to the two neighbouring schools, the Steynville High School and the Vukasizwe Primary School.

The schools had to share the 30 compu-ters and 30 laptops equally between each other.

Davies was further expected to engage with the community of Hopetown as part of the DTI’s education drive.

The objective of the campaign was to provide a platform for communities to share their experiences and challenges in dealing with the DTI and its agencies.

Awareness about the DTI group’s services, products and access to incentives that are offered to businesses and entrepreneurs were supposed to be made.

No explanation was given by the communications department as to why the minister did not show up.

The event was continued by the South African Local Government Association (Salga) Northern Cape, just as planned, to hand out dignity packs to all the learners, boys and girls.

According to Salga, the key priority of the 2016 Nelson Mandela Day project is for young women to have the necessary knowledge, facilities and environment to manage menstruation hygienically and with dignity.

This year’s initiative is expected to help in ensuring that female learners do not miss valuable learning time.

The Steynville High School, being a low-income school, was chosen to benefit from this project by providing sanitary towels to the girls.

Boy learners also benefitted from the intitiative by each receiving a toiletry pack.

Through the dignity pack project, Salga and its partners aim to develop the areas of health, education and gender equality.

Brenda Mpamba had her hands full in an effort to calm the learners, who found the dignity packets funny.

The girls felt embarrassed and shy about discussing sanitary towels in the presence of the boys, while the boys were annoyed.

Mpamba used herself as an example, as a woman who uses sanitary towels.

“I am also using sanitary towels, I am also going to receive mine, including the dignity packs for the boys,” she told the learners.

She explained the fact that not all the learners are able to afford sanitary towels.

“Please receive them as a good gesture. This is all because we care, thanks to Salga.

“I know exactly what is happening in your minds, because I was also at your age once. While I grew up, we were too shy to talk about these things.

“We were very different to you, the children of today, who get the platforms to discuss things like this.”

The school principal of the Steynville High School, Senzo Mpalala, said the dignity packs were welcomed with open arms, as they were of utmost importance to the school.

“This means that we will no longer have learners leaving the school during school hours due to natural challenges.

“The school will from now on be able to assist the girl learner when the need arises,” he said.

Regarding the donation of computers, he elaborated that the school did not have any computers for the learners at all.

“We did have a lab that stood empty, where the computers will now be installed.

“It came when we needed it most.”

According to Mpalala, engagements are in place for the introduction of the subject Computer Applications Technology (CAT) to be introduced at the school.

He revealed that they had been approached by the department.

The principle appealed to other sectors to follow in the DTI’s steps of assisting the school with more computers.

“We have 769 learners at the school and plan on accommodating all learners and all grades for computer classes. We will really appreciate having more computers donated to us,” said the principle.

“Technology is currently taking centre stage in the economy, thus our children have to learn at a young age.

“On behalf of the parents and teachers, we are truly thankful to the DTI and Salga for remembering us.”

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