Facilitating Access to Education for Refugee Child
Access to Basic Education
Mandela said that education is the most powerful way in which you can change
RCP seeks to facilitate access to basic education as part of the integration of refugee children in their host countries. Accessing basic education is crucial to a better future for refugee children. It not only opens a way to a better future, but educates vulnerable children of their rights and responsibilities, and provides them with tools to face the future outside refugee settlements. Refugee children experience numerous barriers to accessing schooling.
RCP’s focus is on the following:
- Challenging the barriers to accessing primary and secondary school for refugee children;
- Promoting the exemption policy for all refugee children in schools;
- Providing school uniforms, transport costs, school bags and books and other education material for refugee children living in poverty and vulnerable circumstances;
- Challenging school officials in regards to refugee learners;
- Facilitating the registration of refugee children into public schools;
- Advocating exemptions for school fees and challenging the debts of vulnerable refugee families;
- Conducting school awareness visits to inform local learners about the plight of refugee children.
After-school programs or Out-of-School Time, serve children and youth of all ages, and encompass a broad range of focus areas including academic support, mentoring, youth development, arts, and sports and recreation. The activities in which children and youth engage while outside of school hours are critical to their development, highlighting the need for quality after-school programs in all communities. The demand for our after school programs is strong among refugee and other poor families.
High quality after-school programs generate positive outcomes for youth including improved academic performance, classroom behavior, and health and nutrition. Communities and businesses also benefit when youth have safe and productive ways to spend their time while their parents are at work. Our After School Programs to help promote positive outcomes for refugee children and youth.
RCP’s educational support programme provides direct and indirect support and it conducts much awareness on the enrolment process with parents and advise our beneficiaries where necessary.
Advocacy on Access to Education for refugee children
An asylum seeker or refugee child cannot be refused access to education or other services at public schools because he (she) is the holder of a refugee asylum seeker or refugee status. RCP advocates, on behalf of children, especial refugees, for their enrolment in public schools. Each year, RCP assists over 200 children, with enrolment in public schools, debts cancellation, exemption from school fees, and parental guidance for participation in the education of their children.
RCP Workshop facilitated by the Gauteng Department of Education
Distribution of School Uniforms and other Educational Needs
Any school children who belong to the poor and deprived families and who are studying in Government schools drop out of school for want of uniforms. In order to encourage these children, every year, RCP distributes school uniforms on two occasions that is in January/February and in May/June. The first distribution in January/February is for summer school uniforms and in May/June is for winter school uniforms. With the scarcity of jobs and income generating projects, having money to buy uniforms has become some sort of luxury to most of RCP clients, hence the uniform support comes in as a big relief to parents.
Recipients of uniform support are assessed to see if they are qualified for support. The assessment includes home visits by RCP volunteers to the client to do home assessment and make recommendations to the officer in charge of the programme, who will make the final assessment.
Since RCP has taken this initiative of distributing uniforms to all needy school pupils, it has encouraged poor children feel part and parcel of the institutions in which they study. Many pupils from poor backgrounds don’t have this necessary clothing so they end up wearing their casual clothes which makes them odd from other children hence they feel left out. In some cases, the poor children are sent out of schools for lack of uniforms which they cannot afford. We intend to minimize this cases so as to ensure as many children access basic education.
Furthermore, many of these refugee children, unaccompanied minors and underprivileged local children, drop school; mainly because of lack of school materials, which are expensive and often many parents cannot afford the educational costs: school fees, stationery, transport and uniforms. RCP’s duty is to ensure that every child has an opportunity to be in school by providing them with the necessary school materials needed, so the child can have the opportunity to attend classes and become a great responsible person, in future. Every year RCP supports more than 300 children with school uniforms, stationery and transport. RCP, directly work in partnership with schools and the department of education
After School Programme
It’s always an outcry that many refugee children are not coping with some subject, like Mathematics, English and Science. RCP saw this problem and introduced the “After school Programme” in which students are assisted to do their home work, and offered extra lessons in Mathematics, English and Science, to better their marks at school. This programme happens in well-established schools in Johannesburg. Classes take place every Monday to Thursday from 14h00 to 17h00. Qualified teachers are hired by RCP to assist students with their home work.
This is a very useful project, for it helps slow students to catch up, with their fast learners peers. Learners from French speaking countries, who have problems in English, benefits a lot from the English lessons offered by this project. It saves, as a relief to poor parents, who cannot afford to assist their children or pay for extra lessons. RCP offers this service for free.
Services offered by this activity: English, Mathematics, Sciences and Cultural activities.
Beneficiary of this activity: Both refugee learners (60%) and underprivileged local learners (40%).
Every year, at least 145 learners are assisted through this programme.
Tutorial or bridge Programme
This programme assists refugee children, who arrived after enrolment period in South Africa, or children whose parents did not secure enrolment on time. Most of these children are from underprivileged families; their parents cannot afford either inscription fee required, like deposits, by some schools, especial for refugee children; or non affordability to enroll their children in private schools. RCP has started this programme, that acts as a bridging gap to the out of school kids, so that when they rejoin the mainstream education, it will be a smooth trans session.
The tutoring project is crucial in preparing the outgoing school children’s entrance in the mainstream education system and keeping kids away from danger and other social ills, that can be fell them, when they are not going to school. It also keeps out of school kids’ minds in the active mode. This activity also gives opportunity for refugee parents, who want to learn English. Mathematics, English, Sciences and cultural activities are the subject that offered by this programme, from Monday to Thursday.
Direct beneficiaries: Refugee Children and Parents
Attending Number: 60 disadvantaged refugee learners per year