The Telkom Foundation recognises that the psychosocial and emotional support of learners and teachers is a necessary component of its strategy and programmes and that it cannot focus only on the cognitive and academic development of learners nor solely on the development of teachers’ academic and pedagogical skills.
Psychosocial support emphasises the close connection between the psychological aspects of a learner’s (or a teacher’s) experience and his or her wider social experience (namely, relationships with family, community and friends) as well as the broader social environment (i.e. culture, traditions, religion, socio-political environment).
The Telkom Foundation wishes to support the learners on its programmes and specifically aims to develop resilience in them as well as their self-awareness and confidence as it believes that building resilience is key to psychosocial support. It also wishes to empower teachers to cope with the psychosocial pressures evident in their classrooms and schools.
The Telkom Foundation currently has 7 partner schools in Port Elizabeth (2) and Tshwane West (5). It has carried out a baseline survey of the psychosocial issues facing learners at each of these schools. It has discovered the following primary issues through its baseline research, and its conclusions have been verified by the on-going observation of interns working in the schools:
Through its internship programme, the Telkom Foundation is keeping an ongoing record of the numbers of incidents (of bullying, teenage pregnancies, drug and alcohol abuse, child-headed families, malnutrition, discipline issues, etc.). The Telkom Foundation’s approach to aiding in the addressing of these issues in its partner schools is strategically structured on the following pillars:
Telkom Foundation contracted various service providers to address the five pillars:
Kutitiva is using an online assessment tool that will provide online data that will enable Telkom Foundation Educational Management and specific staff, to recognise the individual student’s needs. The online assessment and workshop will assist the Telkom Foundation students to develop leadership skills, resilience, understand their environmental influences, understand their classmates, provide students with communication and conflict resolution skills within school and socially, and assist with study and classroom management skills.
They cover 5 key areas / dimensions:
Childline works to protect children from all forms of violence and to create a culture of children's rights in South Africa. Children are generally ill-informed of their rights, as laid out in the South African Bill of Rights and Constitution, and therefore do not know always when these rights have been violated. Furthermore, children and communities often do not know how to respond once their rights have been transgressed, thus disempowering and silencing this already vulnerable portion of our population.
Therefore, Childline’s Helpline, Counselling services, Child Development and Community Awareness and Prevention Programme aims to empower communities and educate children on their rights and responsibilities and equip educators and other professionals working with children with the skills necessary to handle disclosures of abuse appropriately and sensitively.
This programme’s philosophy rests on the following premise:
Childline provides the learners of our schools with an online counselling service. Learners in need of information to deal with certain situations can visit the website (secure chatroom) and text a counsellor anonymously, who will provide counselling in this “chatroom”. Should a situation proofs to be extreme, the counsellors will endeavour to win over the learner’s trust to find out the learner’s details to enable them to physically intervene where necessary or refer to relevant role players.
Future Generations deploys social workers at our five schools in Tshwane West where they will provide learners with counselling to deal with psychological issues and social challenges, using three methods of intervention:
An effective referral system is developed by Future Generations for the learners and their families for further assistance. They have proactive measures for the prevention of and early intervention in unacceptable behaviour by the learners, eg. Bullying, Social ills, teenage pregnancies and substance abuse. Where necessary the social workers will have meetings with parents and/or guardians during home visits.