DBE and French Embassy join hands to uplift South African schooling
Basic Education Director-General, Mr Mathanzima Mweli and the Ambassador of France, Her Excellency Elisabeth Barbier, signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) for collaboration at the DBE in Pretoria on 25 April 2016. The DBE and the French Embassy entered into an agreement to strengthen the implementation of the National School Nutrition Programme (NSNP) and French language training in South African schools.
The partnership will benefit from cultural co-operation in the form of workshop demonstrations by French and South African chefs, called So Chef, in identified schools. This initiative is in line with nutrition education which is a key pillar of the NSNP and was proposed by the Institute of France in South Africa (IFAS). Through this partnership the French chefs will be visiting the identified South African schools to guide learners on various ways to prepare healthy meals.
The French Embassy joined the DBE to support and celebrate National Nutrition Week during October 2015, under the theme: Eating Healthy at School. As part of the co-operation, culinary workshops conducted by three Chefs from France and Belgium were organised in four secondary schools offering Home Economics as subjects in Bloemfontein, Durban, Johannesburg and Pretoria.
The Department values the collaboration with the French Embassy as this engagement has the potential to expand and reach more schools and learners across all provinces. There is, therefore, more work that lies ahead to engage in mass nutrition awareness campaigns in all schools as part of this joint co-operation with the Embassy.
Mr Mweli acknowledged the collaboration between the DBE and the French Embassy, saying it will play a fundamental role in transforming South African learning environments to become even more conducive. “I would like to extend a warm welcome and a hand of appreciation to the French Republic and the Embassy for recognising the Department as a partner in bringing change to the lives of South African learners,” said Mr Mweli.
“In taking into account the high-pace lifestyle of today in conjunction with the decrease in national borders because of globalisation, it is advantageous for one to not only pursue a healthy lifestyle, but to also utilise the opportunities presented by a borderless international arena. The DBE has endorsed the promotion of the French language in South Africa, particularly at primary and secondary school levels. It is also an opportunity for the learners to broaden their awareness of other nations’ cultures and history, which in turn will be advantageous in their overall personal development as global citizens,” the Director-General said.
“It is also my hope that future South African learners who have learned the French language will also gain access to unique opportunities offered by the French government and the private sector. I believe that this platform serves as one of the many avenues for both the DBE and the French Embassy to creatively find ways to enhance this collaboration without losing focus of their respective national objectives,” concluded Mr Mweli.