16 February 2017

For the third meeting held on Thursday 16 February, Sizabantwana had the privilege of hearing from one of their own, ex chairperson and one of the founding members, Ms Lungisile Mantshongo. Ms Mantshongo is a passionate educator and was elected leader of Sizabantwana in 1997. She served her community with dedication and held the position of Sizabantwana chairperson for five years before passing on the title to Ms Hlengiwe Mcwabe. Ms Mantshongo has since been working with the special needs education services and came to speak to Sizabantwana (Thurs 16th Feb 2017) about the department of education’s policy on screening, identification, assessment, and support for assisting learners with special needs.

The talk aimed at discussing the policy and how it should be used to assist those learners who have special needs and require extra interventions to help them achieve. These special needs learners may include children with physical disabilities, mental/cognitive difficulties, and or behavioural difficulties. Ms Mantshongo provided the group with two case studies to aid in illustrating how the policy should be interpreted and applied in order to gain access to the most appropriate resources for those children who need them. These resources may include educational concessions, access to medical or psychological assessment and treatment, adapted learning materials or access to individuals who can scribe, sign or provide specialised methods of assessment. The forms necessary to apply for these educational concessions were explained in detail and the given cased studies were used to hypothetically fill-out the forms thus providing a practical example of the procedure and aided in understanding the purpose of the policy.

I would like to extend a big thank you to Ms Mantshongo for sharing her expert knowledge with Sizabantwana, so that the teachers of Sizabantwana may further help their communities.

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