Educators' perceptions about the health status of farm schools
Segale, Mbaco Talita
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It is common to find farm schools some distance from the villages where learners reside, and in most cases these do not look good from the outside and are normally not given as much support as they should get. There are many challenges facing educators who are teaching learners in farm schools. Some of the problems emanate from home, including the socia-economic status and parental involvement. Other problems are as a result of the environmental conditions, including a lack of basic services like water, electricity and others. The education system is believed to be failing farm school learners in a way when it comes to issues like a lack of teaching or learning aids, a lack of a referral system, a lack in high schools, a lack of funding, managing and controlling the feeding scheme. At times some additional problems are caused by the learners themselves, including late coming, absenteeism, a high drop-out rate, teenage pregnancy and vandalism. The bad road conditions and the fact that learners have to walk long distances to school, also impact negatively on the learners. Educators in farm schools feel that they are over-burdened in their task of teaching because of issues like multi-grade classes, too much administration, and lack of support from the department and the parents, as well as financial constraints. The above factors cause much frustration in the teaching profession and educators become drained and experience serious fatigue, which impacts negatively on their work. The aim of this study is to investigate the general perceptions of educators about the health status of farm schools. To attain this aim, the study had following specific objective: To determine the perceptions of educators about the health status of farm schools. A qualitative research design was considered to be the most appropriate for gaining in depth insight into the educators' perceptions about the health status of farm schools. Data was collected through phenomenological semi-structured interviews and direct observations. This data was then organised into categories and subcategories, and direct quotations were presented verbatim. Research findings were compared to the relevant literature to identify existing information and possible differences, and the findings were then recorded. The study showed that there are many barriers in farm schools that hinder the smooth running the of school, in other words the learning and teaching. It is necessary to eliminate these barriers where possible, and to minimise and control the barriers that can be detrimental to the health status of farm schools. Findings from this research were classified according to the following main categories: •Difficult working conditions experienced by educators in the classroom. •Poor socio-economic status of learners. •Lack of support to learners from outside the school. •Dissatisfaction with the Department of Education's management. Lack of transport and bad road conditions on the way to school. •The adverse effect of the status quo on educators. •Learners’ negative attitude. •Struggles with helper mothers.
- Education