Psychosocial Support for Vulnerable Rural Primary School Learners

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Psychosocial support has been defined as an ongoing process of meeting emotional, social, mental and spiritual needs, all of which are considered essential elements of meaningful and positive human development. It goes beyond simply meeting the children’s physical needs. It places great emphasis on children’s psychological and emotional needs, and their need for social interaction (Family Health International 2006:1). The Free State Department of Education (FSDoE 2007:11) define vulnerable children as orphans , heads of child-headed households, neglected learners and all learners who do not have access to a basic set of school uniform. The department states that there are currently 70 000 learners in the province. This exploratory and descriptive study investigates psychosocial support for vulnerable rural primary school learners in the Free State province of South Africa. It describes attempts at affording vulnerable learners education and addressing their marginalization and inherent powerlessness (social justice). It argues that psychosocial support (meeting their needs) for vulnerable learners improve access to education.


Keywords: Psychosocial Support, Vulnerable, Rural, Primary School, Learners
Stream: Curriculum and Pedagogy; Student Learning, Learner Experiences, Learner Diversity
Presentation Type: Paper Presentation in English
Paper: A paper has not yet been submitted.


Dr. Dipane Hlalele

Senior Lecturer, School of Education, University of the Free State
Phuthaditjhaba, Free State, South Africa

Dr Dipane Hlalele matriculated with exemption at Dikwena High School in 1984. In 1985 he joined SASOL 1 as a process operator and served there until 1987. He obtained a BAEd degree from Uniqwa in 1991, BEd (1995), MEd (1998), PhD (2002) at the University of the Free State as well as a Certificate in Agriculture from Glen College in the same year and is currently registered for the MA (Higher Education Studies) degree. In 1992 he worked as a teacher at Nkhobiso High School , was appointed a lecturer and Head of Department (Teaching Science) at Sefikeng College of Education in 1997 and 2001 respectively. Due to the rationalization of teacher education colleges in South Africa at the time, he opted to join Lekhulong Secondary School as a Deputy Principal in 2003. He was appointed Senior Lecturer: Psychology of Education in 2004 and appointed Programme Head: School of Education (QwaQwa Campus) on 1 April 2006. His immediate objective is to make strides in his personal academic growth plan where a research and publication record enjoys priority. Besides being awarded a CSD scholarship grant for his MEd studies, he is currently a Thuthuka grantholder. He is a member of the Education Association of Southern Africa (EASA) and Athens Institute for Education and Research (ATINER).

Dr. Veliswe Gasa

Education Specialist, Free State Department of Education
Bethlehem, Free State, South Africa

Veliswe Gasa holds a DEd degree in Psycholgy of Education from the University of South Africa. She currently serves the Free State Department of Education as an Education Specialist. Her research interests cover Inclusive Education, Life Orientation and rural education.

Ref: L09P0670