Quality education – A fundamental right

The South African Constitution states in the Bill of Rights that every child has the right to an education. This means that no child should be excluded from receiving an education, regardless of their mental and physical abilities.  School is not only a place for intellectual development but also for social, emotional, physical, and creative development. A school should provide a safe nurturing environment where children have the freedom to explore their world and fulfil their potential. Children all have something in common; they all want to feel loved, accepted and appreciated, the school environment should be a place where children can receive this.

South Africa is a country that celebrates diversity and this diversity is very evident in our classrooms today. No two children are the same and teachers have to be adaptable and flexible to teach to the different levels of the children in the classroom. However in the mainstream environment this is not always possible if the gap between the learner’s abilities is too large and if there is not enough support within the school.  Inclusive education aims towards one system for all, where children of all abilities both mental and physical are educated together. There is a shift in our education system towards inclusion and many mainstream schools have implemented it successfully but it will be a long road before all schools are fully inclusive. Many teachers and parents are debating the pros and cons of an inclusive school verse separate schools that cater for different learners.

Children are naturally curious and they do want to learn, they do however learn differently and at different speeds. A remedial school is great option for children with learning challenges where they are able to learn at their own pace, and receive more individualised attention and support. Many remedial schools offer in-school therapy and support services to their learners, which is a huge help to parents who may not be able to afford or have access to therapy services for their child. Some schools also focus on more skills-based programs which equip the children with more vocational based practical skills. When deciding on a school for your child it is important to find a good fit where their strengths and talents can be built on and developed.

Keeping in mind that education is a fundamental right for all children, it is the responsibility of schools to have child-centred approaches in developing programs that will ensure good quality education for all.

Words by Samantha Bolton, a Remedial Therapist for the Sparrow Schools Educational Trust.

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