The Western Cape Education Department (WCED) has encouraged residents to support and be mindful of the matric Class of 2021 as the countdown has started towards the start of the National Senior Certificate (NSC) exams.
According to a statement by the MEC for Education, Debbie Schäfer the class of 2021 has had a particularly tough year and a half as the grade 11s of 2020 missed a substantial amount of in-person teaching and learning time, so there was a lot to catch up on.
” We have prioritised them this year to ensure that they had the maximum possible time in class, which included cancelling the mid-year examinations to give them more teaching and learning time. I salute the work that all of our matric teachers have done to prepare this class to the very best of their abilities.
“We recognise that this will be a stressful and anxious period for our Grade 12s and that they may be struggling to cope emotionally with the pressure. I urge each and every one of them to reach out for help if they need it,” Schäfer said.
Schäfer said each district also has a Specialised Learner and Educator Support (SLES) team, which includes psychologists and social workers, so when a learner approaches a teacher for help, or a teacher notices that a learner is not doing so well, they can refer them to their district office for individual support. The district can also make referrals to other departments for additional support where needed.
” We appeal especially to communities to report cases where learners are manifesting symptoms of depression and may even be at-risk of a possible self-harm attempt. Schools, parents, and/or learners can call the WCED’s Safe Schools call centre (0800 45 46 47) for assistance in locating immediate support,” Schäfer indicated.
- Motivational talks
- Study skills sessions
- Self-care and mindfulness sessions with groups of matric learners
- Psycho-social support sessions with parents focusing on communication, realistic expectations and goal-setting, and supporting a Grade 12 learner at home
- Group support sessions
In addition, the South African Depression and Anxiety Group offer a 24-hour helpline (0800 12 13 14) as well as a Suicide Emergency Number (0800 567 567). Learners and/or parents can use these numbers if they feel that the child needs immediate assistance (often after school hours).