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Address by the Minister of Basic Education, Mrs Angie Motshekga, MP, at the Official Handover of a Nutrition Centre Held at Ratanda Primary School, Gauteng Province, 04 April 2019

Programme Director: Ms M Makhubela

Honourable MEC of Education: Mr Panyaza Lesufi

Head of Gauteng Education Department: Mr Edward Mosuwe

Tiger Brands Foundation Chairperson and former Ambassador: Mrs Sheila Sisulu

Mrs Mary-Jane Morifi: Trustee

Lesedi Municipality Executive Mayor: Ms L Maloka and Local Councillors         Acting Principal of Ratanda Primary, Mrs Mofokeng

Members of the School Governing Body,

Senior Management and officials from the Provincial and Districts

Leaders and community of Ratanda

Educators, Parents, Learners,   

Distinguished Guests,

Ladies and Gentlemen,

 

Good Morning! Sanibonani!

I’m delighted to be here this morning to officially handover a new nutrition centre, and preside over the first graduation ceremony of volunteer food handlers. We converge here in Ratanda because this school epitomises excellence. We are here to appreciate your school’s academic prowess, and innovation in the successful implementation of the National School Nutrition Programme.  

I wish to acknowledge the presence of the Board of Trustees from Tiger Brands Foundation especially former Ambassador, Mrs Sheila Sisulu. We certainly have royalty in our midst as we know that Mrs Sisulu is the Chairperson of the Tiger Brands Foundation, and the former Director for the World Food Programme.

Above all, she is an eminent author, and political activist. Of course, she is married to the ANC unofficial oligarchy, the Sisulus.

Programme Director; it was in 2011, that the Department entered into a successful partnership with the Tiger Foundation with the view to providing our learners with the in-school breakfast meal. 

This programme serves our learners with high quality food as one of the most important meal of the day to improve their school performance and better their health outcomes.

You may recall that just over a year ago we assembled here to announce the 2017/18 NSNP Best Schools and Best Districts that had performed excellently in the school nutrition programme.  It was with excitement that you witnessed your school being named as the overall winner, the ‘best of the best’ school across all provinces in the school feeding programme. 

You are indeed the best here at Ratanda Primary School. You epitomise what it means to run a high performing school amidst all other social issues that bedevils our country. We are VERY proud your success. We bask in your glory. We urge you not to lift your foot off the accelerator.

Programme Director, I also wish to remind all of you that our primary goal is to improve the quality of learning and teaching in the public schooling system. We are alive to the old adage that says, “You cannot teach a hungry child”. 

In this regard, our former President Nelson Mandela pioneered the school feeding scheme. It is more than just a feeding scheme, it’s about improving learner outcomes both academically and health wise. The meals which are provided at schools give our learners energy, promote their growth and sustain their lives.

Inevitably this improves their state of alertness during class. We also know that school attendance improves where there’s a feeding scheme. We have made tremendous progress with regards to the quality of meals since we the programme began a while back.

Programme Director; the National School Nutrition Programme exists to advance our learners’ wellbeing. It is not a standalone programme but part of our Care and Support for Teaching and Learning package. This is a holistic approach which seeks to address all multiple barriers to learning.  

Programme Director; I have learned with regret that some secondary school learners do not eat, ‘school prepared meals’ calling it “i-Sgorv” i.e. “food meant for the poor”.  I wish to urge the Learner Representative Councils (LRC), to help make it your duty to work with your communities to address the misconception associated with the national school nutrition programme.

The meals that we provide in our schools are nourishing food that would ordinarily be consumed in any household and enjoyed by all.

Programme Director; on the 14 August 2018, the President made a clarion call to all social partners to support Government’s efforts aimed  improving basic education in our country. In response to this call, Tiger Brands has elected to, ‘lend a hand.’ I must make it clear that they are our long-time partners in the basic education space.

In our new partnership, they are helping us to build a body of knowledge through research. Simultaneously as you may recall, the Tiger Brands Foundation makes donations towards the NSNP winners. These awards carry a monetary value of between of R500 000 and R80 000 respectively.

The investment helps in awarding NSNP winners and building the capacity of school principals through leadership programmes, just to name a few.

Programme Director; this national feeding programme has created job opportunities for the local communities especially women. In collaboration with Tiger Brands Foundation, we have also started to review the status of Volunteer Food Handlers.

We resolved that the best way to show our appreciation is to enrol them on the reskilling programme. The issue of food handling is a serious matter.

In a bid to encourage proper food handling practices thus minimising the risk of contamination and possible spread of non-communicable diseases, today we have our very first cohort of graduates.

I stand here before you to congratulate our first Volunteer Food Handlers who will be receiving their accredited Certificates today. These people in front of you are now qualified in food handling and hygiene.

Congratulations and well done to all of you. We thank you for your dedication to our children. You go about your duties with all the love and care for our learners. We urge you to continue to use your skills to uplift your communities. Perhaps, this is the right time to start cooking clubs.

Programme Director; today as we officially hand-over the kitchen facility to you, we urge you protect these facilities. Do not allow criminals to destroy the school infrastructure. Do not buy stolen food items meant for your children from criminals.

We are providing our learners with free education and free meals as part of building a resilient nation. Be proud of your school and protect it by all means possible. 

I wish to acknowledge the contribution and commitment of the Provincial Education Department, Districts, schools communities because without them we would not be able to meet our mandate.

Equally, I wish to thank the Tiger Brands Foundation’s Board of Trustees and its leadership for their vision and investment in the sector.

We thank you for working together with us and investing immensely in improving preparation and cooking facilities at schools through the provision of high standard kitchens.  

I wish to thank the Acting Principal and teachers today for their hard work and dedication in improving learner performance.

My gratitude goes to all the Volunteer Food Handlers and parents who dedicate their time and carry the delicate responsibility of preparing the best meals for our learners daily. Thank you to the learners, for working diligently. I urge you to continue to respect your parents and teachers, for you are our bright future.

In conclusion, we are proud to say that our partnership with Tiger Brands is a gold standard in collaboration between Government and our social partners.

Your investment in our sector is very critical in building a South Africa we envisaged back in 1994 during our period of innocence.

Let’s us grow South Africa together, not for ourselves but for posterity. This reminds me of the Chinese proverb, which says, “Doing good deeds brings the greatest joy”. May you continue to do well and prosper!

I thank you.

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Written By: Administrator Account
Date Posted: 4/4/2019
Number of Views: 188

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