Help grow learners’ soft skills

2017-02-07 06:01

A programme to raise awareness of foetal alcohol syndrome and substance abuse is being rolled out at schools in Ocean View and Masiphumelele.

The programme will teach soft skills, says JP Smith, Mayco member for safety and security and social services.

The project is designed to build resilience in children against factors that often act as a gateway to substance abuse, like bullying, peer pressure and low self-esteem, explains Smith.

“According to research, the best preventative measures for substance abuse is to enhance the protective factors within learners. The soft skills programme aims to do just that by enlisting the services of a team of graduate social stream professionals like social workers, psychologists and occupational therapists to help learners develop skills such as communication, self-esteem building, peer pressure resistance and appropriate social behaviour focusing on respect, being healthy and clean,” he says.

“We are trying to build up their self-worth and self-belief to make them less susceptible to the influences that could see them fall into the substance abuse trap.”

The other important aspect of the programme is to make learners understand the effects of substance abuse, Smith explains.

“These are concepts which would ideally be taught in the home, but it’s an unfortunate reality that many children are being denied these basic teachings because their environment is one where substance abuse is entrenched in their daily lives and considered the norm.”

The programme will run at Marine and Ukhanyo primary schools and Ocean View Secondary School, focussing on Grade 4, 6 and 8 learners, starting this week.

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