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Be Partners in Education, Catholic Entity in South Africa to Parents amid School Dropouts

The logo of the Catholic Institute of Education (CIE) in South Africa. Credit: Catholic Institute of Education (CIE)

The leadership of the Catholic Institute of Education (CIE) in South Africa has called on parents in the country to show their partnership in the education program by ensuring that their children attend school amid a reported increase in the number of dropouts as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. 

“We call on parents to be partners in education as we work with the Department of Basic Education to reverse the loss in teaching time and to lead schools in the recovery efforts of the nation,” CIE Director, Janice Seland, says in a Monday, August 2 statement.

Ms. Seland adds, “The law is unchanged with regards to parents’ responsibilities to ensure children access education and it remains a criminal offence to keep children out of school.”

In the statement, the CIE official assures parents that schools in the country are “once again safe for learning” following the vaccination of most educators. 

“The Department of Basic Education, which is also calling on all parents to return their children to schools, assures based on scientific evidence specific to South Africa, which shows children have a reduced risk of contracting COVID-19,” CIE official says.

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She adds, “The risks are further reduced when strict protocols are observed; children must wear masks at all times and wash their hands regularly.”

According to a July report by South Africa’s National Income Dynamics Study – Coronavirus Rapid Mobile Survey (NIDS-CRAM), 750,000 school going children have dropped out of school due to the pandemic.

South Africa’s Education Department in partnership with civil society partners have vaccinated at least 800,000 education personnel.

Catholic School educators have received the vaccine through this roll out including educators in the Independent Schooling sector who were registered by the CIE, Ms. Seland says. 

South Africa has recorded at least 2,461,758 cases of the virus including 72,437 deaths and 2,238,388 recoveries. 

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In the August 2 message, the CIE official also calls on the leadership of all learning institutions in the country “to ensure the health and safety of all people in the school community.”