Targeted knowledge drive benefits
pupils, teachers in rural schools
In the last quarter of 2018, TCTA took part in roadshows aimed at exposing rural pupils and their teachers to career paths and opportunities suitable for the demands of the modern society. The event was in collaboration with the Wholesale and Retail Sector Education and Training Authority and the national government departments of education, water and sanitation.
The partners for the Expos chose to focus on the rural parts of the Eastern Cape, the North West, and the Western Cape. These provinces are home to some of the poorest areas in South Africa with the expected limited access to information.
“Rural to Rural’’, as the partners in this career awareness programme have dubbed it, is a continuation of the work that TCTA has done over the years in the fields of education and skills development. It has variously invested resources in bursaries, internships, and career guidance to ensure a pipeline of skills for the water sector.
In the most recent round of expos, career roadshows started in the small Eastern Cape town of Graaf Reinet and drew more than 1 000 enthusiastic pupils.
The programme for the day took the form of three sessions with the first made up of presentations to the broader group, followed by two breakaway sessions for the assemblies of pupils and teachers.
TCTA Socio-Economic Development Officer Florence Ndhundhuma delivered an inspiring presentation to the group, aiming to motivate the pupils to pursue their dreams. She also highlighted the different choices that the pupils had and the available funding opportunities for those intending to pursue tertiary education.
“Nowadays, you guys are lucky,” Ms Ndhundhuma reassured the assembled Graaf Reinet pupils and teachers.
“In the past, we did not even know about these career expos because they were not accessible to people in rural areas; therefore, you must appreciate and take advantage of these opportunities.”
She also encouraged the pupils not to allow their economic backgrounds to become a limitation to their aspirations. Instead, they should take their cue from many others like herself who have overcome the circumstances of their births to lead a meaningful life.
“Simply because some of us now have jobs and own cars, does not mean that we always had those things,” Ms Ndhundhuma said. “We had to decide what kind of life we want to live; I chose to make a better life for myself.”
Pupils and teachers welcomed the roadshows and vouched for their value. “It is inspiring to have external people coming to share their experiences with us,” said one of the pupils from Khayamandi High School in Stellenbosh, Western Cape.
“We have many challenges in the school ranging from drugs and violence, but we feel that sometimes teachers are also intimidated by some (pupils).” The pupil added that initiatives such as “Rural to Rural’’ should not be a once off thing.
The teachers were equally happy with the initiative from TCTA and its partners. “We would like to thank you all for the initiative,” one of the participating teachers said.
“(The pupils) do need young people (referring to some of the facilitators) to come and emphasise the same message that we try to instil in them, and that message is that there is life outside this community, but they must work hard.