Bunking nipped early

2016-11-29 06:00

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A programme to cut down on truancy in Ocean View is set to pilot at Marine Primary School.

Around 120 youth at risk, truant children and children abusing substances will be the focus of the project, says Suzette Little, the City’s Mayco member for social development and early childhood development.

“This school has reported experiencing the negative effects of truancy and that learners are displaying high-risk behaviour. (It is) a suitable site for the pilot project where the impact of the project could be monitored and evaluated,” she explains.

According to Little, truancy can lead to social ills such as dropping out of school, unemployment, substance abuse and “family breakdown”.

The City of Cape Town has a strategic plan to focus on primary school learners to implement early intervention measures, Little says.

“It is widely understood that chronic truancy is prevalent among school children who are at risk. Truancy in primary schools can be a precursor to truancy in later years, dropping out of school and the closely associated problems of adolescence including substance abuse and delinquency. The focus on primary school learners seeks to make a difference early on in their lives.”

The project uses a multi-faceted intervention process based on the specific school’s needs, including awareness, parental workshops and lifeskills programmes, early intervention focusing on adolescent substance abuse treatment and counselling, parent self-help support group development and truancy return-to-school campaigns.

“Parents must be included in the process to upskill and support them with their parenting skill set. This will be done though specific initiatives focusing on parents such as parent support groups and parenting education,” Little explains.

Over the course of the month, the City has been hosting seminars with religious organisations to help tackle social ill and ­truancy.

“Aside from dealing with existing social ills, we also want to prevent it from mushrooming into the future, hence the critical focus on our young people. We have an ever developing early childhood development programme, but we need to pay more attention to teenagers and young adults and keeping them in school. This not only improves their economic prospects and quality of life once they leave school, but also reduces the risk of falling in with the wrong crowd and habits,” Little says.

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