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The functioning of care and support committees in selected schools in eSikhawini, KwaZulu-Natal.

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The study explored the functioning of care and support committees in selected schools, within the context of Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) and poverty that are main detrimental factors causing children’s vulnerability. Functioning of schools as centers of care and support is also an international policy mandate and pioneered by the United Nations (UN) and African Union (AU). The Department of Basic Education in South Africa, has implemented various policies that aim to streamline schools as centers of care and support for orphans and vulnerable children. Schools are recognized as centers of care and support if they are able to provide safety nets and offer social relief services to the learners in need of care and protection as stipulated in section 150 of the Children’s Act No 38 of 2005. The reviewed literature indicated that teachers tasked with rendering care and support in schools are facing challenges of limited resources to address the ever-increasing number of learners who have been identified as orphans and vulnerable children (OVC). The study was conducted at eSikhawini in three selected schools with focus groups participants who are members of care and support committees and the participants of in-depth interviews with members of school management teams (SMTs) in each school. This study used qualitative methods and its relevant methodological approaches to gather data from the participants and to address the research problem and rationale that investigate the challenges and factors that are detrimental to the functioning of care and support committees in schools. The findings revealed that there is a lack of funding for the learner care and support functionality, lack of capacity building workshops and the care and support committee members who are expected to perform the caring role to the orphans and vulnerable children. The none-changing roles and lack of participation by other teachers in schools was also found as hindrances in the functioning of care and support committees in schools. The study has contributed to the domain of learner care and support, strategies of providing psychosocial support to learners and the understanding of the statutory roles of social workers in child protection organizations. In addition, the study has added value on strategies aiming to address the circumstances of the identified OVCs. Finally, the study has recommended policy 14 reviews pertinent to learner support at the Department of Basic Education, an increase of monitoring and evaluation functionality by the officials of the department of basic education at district level to address the systemic challenges faced by teachers positioned in frontline of rendering care and support to the OVCs.


Masters Degree. University of KwaZulu-Natal, Durban.