The Care and Support for Teaching and Learning (CSTL) Programme is a Southern African Development Community (SADC) initiative.
The goal of the CSTL Programme is to realise the educational rights of all children, including those who are most vulnerable, through schools becoming inclusive centres of learning, care and support.
The CSTL Programme intends to prevent and mitigate factors that have a negative impact on the enrolment, retention, performance and progression of vulnerable learners in schools by addressing barriers to learning and teaching. South Africa is one of six countries (along with Swaziland, Zambia, Madagascar, the Democratic Republic of Congo and Mozambique) participating in the programme. To realise its goal, nine priority areas were identified in Phase 1 of the programme.
These were: nutritional support, health promotion, infrastructure, water and sanitation; safety and protection, social welfare services, psychosocial support, material support, curriculum support, co-curricular activities.
Over the next five years, during Phase 2, the CSTL programme will build on the experiences, successes and lessons learnt from the previous phases of CSTL. In this next phase of the journey, a number of the foundation strategies of CSTL will continue, as CSTL programmes in member states are consolidated and expanded.
However, there are certain critical challenges affecting children and youths – in particular those who are vulnerable and marginalised – and since these compromise their right to education, they will, in future programming, be given prominence and special attention.
To remain responsive and relevant, the specific challenges that demand attention as CSTL enters a new phase are twofold:
• HIV and AIDS: As the region most affected by HIV and AIDS, education sectors in all member states, like other sectors, must respond to the enormous prevention, care and support demands that exist. This is clearly articulated in the SADC Regional Indicative Strategic Development Plan, in which HIV and AIDS is a priority area and the critical need for coordination and implementation across sectors is emphasised.
• Vulnerable groups of children and youths: While the groups that are assessed as vulnerable children and youths differ from country to country, every member state has, in common, the fact that large numbers of children and youths cannot realise their right to education for one or many reasons; at times simply as a result of belonging to an identifiable group.
CSTL will adopt relevant, sustainable strategies – where necessary in partnership – to address these realities and to enable all children and youths to realise their rights to education, safety and protection, and care and support.