Education key to achieving gender equality

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Pretoria – Basic Education Minister Angie Motshekga says quality education plays a crucial role in driving programmes for gender equality, building peace, reducing hunger and fighting the scourge of HIV and Aids.

Speaking during the Parliamentary Debate on Gender Violence on Tuesday, Motshekga said the Department of Basic Education was steadily implementing key programmes for combating gender-based violence, sexual abuse and harassment.

“Without gender equality and women’s empowerment, we will never see an end to violence. We need a new breed of men to help lay a solid foundation of a non-sexist society.

“We have incorporated gender issues, including the prevention and management of gender-based violence, into the school curriculum. We teach the young to honour dignity and embrace the values in the Constitution,” said the minister.

In an effort to foster gender equality, the department in 2011 launched a learner-focused site, Speak Out (www.speakoutfreely.co.za), to help young people to understand, prevent and report sexual abuse.

It will also be used to highlight other issues of concern impacting on the lives of young people, such as drug and alcohol abuse, school safety and issues of morality.

The department has also trained School Governing Bodies, Representative Councils for Learners and teachers on Values in Action, a programme that includes key sessions on gender and sexual abuse and harassment.

The National School Safety Framework, which is in partnership with the South African Police Service, promotes safer schools by linking them to local police stations, and helps them set up school safety committees and train SGBs, teachers, learners and district officials on issues of violence, from bullying to sexual violence.

Motshekga said despite all these efforts to promote safety, it was important to keep in mind that schools were a small representation of the broader society, where the high levels of sexual abuse, violence and rape needed to be urgently dealt with.

“We recognise that literacy and empowerment of rural women is essential if the quality of their lives is to improve, and they are able to access justice and economic empowerment opportunities,” said the minister.

The department will tomorrow, along with President Jacob Zuma, launch the DBE-Lead SA campaign against rape, abuse and violence against women and the girls.

On Friday, 1 March, at 8am, over 10 million learners will assemble in their schools and take a stand against violence and abuse. – Sanews.gov.za

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