18 March 2010

Youth takes on local education burden

BELA-BELA YOUTH convenes the first education summit to tackle underachievement in their region.

Bela-Bela is situated just outside Hammanskraal, in the Limpopo Province. It has a population of over 52000 people in 7 wards. The main pillars of the local economy are tourism, eco-tourism and agriculture.

After one of the four public schools got 0% matric pass rate in 2009, the youth of Bela-Bela decided enough is enough. As 2010 dawned, a group of young people from the sunshine town calling themselves the Bela-Bela Education Advocacy Group (BBEAG) was formed. BBEAG’s main objective is to stop the deterioration of the education standards and to improve Bela-Bela public school’s matriculation results using various intervention measures.

BBEAG would be convening the first youth-driven, apolitical education summit next Saturday, 27th March 2010, at the Bela-Bela Showground. Registration will begin at 09:30. The first of the annual education summit would draw people from various walks of life in order to ‘brainstorm’ and chart a way forward for public education. Among the luminaries at the summit would be the mayoress of Bela-Bela, Councillor H.M Ledwaba, who is the keynote speaker on the day. School teachers, principals, school governing bodies, learner’s leadership, the local South African Police Services, the local business fraternity and parents of learners have also been invited to help craft a collective future for public education in Bela-Bela.

According to Tshepo Matjila, the Programme Coordinator for BBEAG, ‘BBEAG is a non-government organisation, apolitical, a-religious, anti-protest but a pro-education formation that seeks to collaborate with all interested stakeholders, in and around Bela-Bela to, improve the deteriorating standards of public education. ‘

On the summit Tshepo says ‘with the annual education summit we hope to convince everyone that education is a communal responsibility - therefore everyone from the gogo who is left to tend for her grandchildren to the high flyer in business, should step up to help stem the tide of underachievement before it devours the fabric of our community.’

For more information or if you would like to attend this an historic event please contact Tshepo on 076 5611 619 or Jim Lebese on 073 724 1420.

About BBEAG:

The Bela-Bela Education Advocacy Group is a non-government organisation that was formed by young people from Bela-Bela in response to the education situation in their town. Their main aim is to help the learners prepare for examinations and to motivate them for success.

They plan to start a comprehensive tutoring programme in the town that would make revision classes free and accessible for matriculants, with a plan to roll out to other grades over the years. Various other intervention measures like merit awards for teachers and learners, bursary schemes and vacation school programmes would be introduced over the coming weeks, months and years.

For more information, please visit our website at

(Tshepo MatjilaBela-Bela Education Advocacy Group, March 2010)


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