Safely Back to School

Friday 19 February 2021
Thanks to the unwavering support of many of our partners over the past year, Save the Children South Africa implemented a successful “children in emergencies” project starting March 2020. We led a national advocacy call for the inclusion of migrant and undocumented children and their families in the national emergency response plan which contributed to governments’ decision to remove all exclusionary requirements for aid, such as South African ID documents.
 
Later, the government also included several categories of migrant communities (refugees, special dispensation permits holders, asylum seekers) who could receive aid. We delivered over a 100 of tons of food and also established and supported dignified humanitarian aid through multipurpose cash support. Building strong collaborative partnerships was key for the protection of children's rights and that’s why we managed to reached over 350 000 vulnerable children and their families. 
 
As the we continue to grapple with containing the spread of the COVID-19, education continues to be the silent victim of this pandemic. As I write this, we are experiencing the biggest global education emergency of our lifetime.  
 
Over a billion children’s education came to a standstill in the early months of 2020, and most were out of school for 6 months or more. Around 200 million children who were in-school before the pandemic remain out of school. This number continues to fluctuate up and down as schools have to close and reopen again, either on an individual, local or national level - causing further disruption to children’s learning. There is a very real danger that a large number of children - particularly the most marginalised children, including girls, displaced and conflict affected children and children with disabilities in low-and middle-income countries are particularly vulnerable - may never returning to school.  Here at home in South Africa, education experts have raised serious concerns over whether 15% of pupils who did not pitch up at government schools last year after Covid-19 disruptions, would be returning this year. 
 
South Africa needs to take urgent action now, to get all children who were in school before the pandemic back to school.
 
We must fund interventions to support the safe return to learning for thousands of children across the country. We urge you to join us and our partners as we do whatever it takes to Save our children’s education. 
 
In March we will host a webinar, to unwrap the developing education crisis in South Africa and further afield. For details contact: dvandertuin@savethechildren.org.za
 
By Dianne VanDerTuin, Partnership Development Manager at Save the Children South Africa 

About: Save the Children believes every child deserves a future. In South Africa and around the world, we give children a healthy start in life, the opportunity to learn and protection from harm. We do whatever it takes for children – every day and in times of crisis – transforming their lives and the future we share.
 
Note to the Editor: If children are affected, we’ve got something to say. Our team of experts are available for comments, interviews and information.