Learners will get an opportunity to learn to improve the way they use water and protect water resources through the Water and Sanitation Education Programme (WSEP).

Launched by the Department of Water and Sanitation (DWS) at Bukhosibetfu Inclusive Primary School in Driekoppies, Mpumalanga, the programme aims to educate learners about water use efficiency, protection of water resources, health and hygiene, and invasive alien plants.

The programme engages learners and educators on various educational projects where they identify water and sanitation related challenges in their schools and communities, conduct research, come up with recommendations and implement solutions.

WSEP is one of the most important initiatives in ensuring that water and sanitation education is achieved within the public schooling system to encourage water literacy, and change the attitudes and behaviour of learners towards wise water use and value water.

WSEP replaces the 2020 Vision for Water and Sanitation Programme.

The WSEP is implemented through the projects, including Baswa Le Meetse, Aqua Enduro, Public Speaking, Curriculum Support, Intervention Projects, Career Promotion and Celebration of Special Days.

The Water and Sanitation Education Programme also responds to the National Water Resource Strategy II (Chapter 15), Strategic Action 15.5.4 and National and Sanitation Master Plan Chapter 11 (Key Action 2.3.8) in that it creates public awareness and teaches water literacy, with a particular focus on efficient water use and management.

It further lays a foundation for the development of critical skills and exposure to emerging innovations in the water sector.

Director at the Department of Water and Sanitation, Curtis Mabena, further highlighted the key successes of the 2020 Vision for Water and Sanitation Programme, as a benchmark going forward.

“We have mobilised and supported 3 500 schools, 800 bursaries have been awarded for learners to pursue careers in the water and sanitation sector, and 55 media classrooms were awarded through a partnership with the MTN Foundation for Baswa Le Meetse national winners,” Mabena said.

The programme was also recognised for its achievement by the United Nations and awarded the Water for Life Best Practice Award in 2015.

Mabena also called on learners not to play with water, especially on Spring Day.

“Learners, I know you have the tendency of pouring water on each other on Spring Day. South Africa is a water scarce country and every drop counts. I am begging you not to play with water,” Mabena said.

MT Khoza, from the Department of Education in Khulangwane Circuit, said the department fully supports the Water and Sanitation initiative brought to the learners and educators.

Khoza said she hopes the information brought with the launch of the programme will spread to other schools in the circuit, and the whole of Nkomazi Local Municipality and Mpumalanga province.

“We appreciate that the programme will assist learners and educators to understand the importance of water…. The message must be [communicated] every day in order to sink in,” Khoza said.

Source: South African Government News Agency

News Reporter