The Provision of Psychosocial Support and Education of Vulnerable Children: Role of Stakeholders in Education

The Provision of Psychosocial Support and Education of Vulnerable Children: Role of Stakeholders in Education

Netsai Hove
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-7998-8896-3.ch002
(Individual Chapters)
No Current Special Offers


All children require psychosocial services that are provided by several caregivers. Provision of equal educational opportunities for children remains a global challenge despite concerted efforts from organisations such as the United Nations. However, these efforts are continuously undermined by numerous factors such as natural disasters, political instability, civil wars, among others. Admittedly, adverse effects of these factors are mainly felt in underdeveloped or developing countries which are mainly found in Africa. This chapter therefore seeks to show that all children regardless of their social background require a safety net especially under the new era of COVID-19 pandemic. The ecological systems theory will be discussed. Factors that cause vulnerability in Africa, Asia, and other continents will be explored as well. To add more, the South African context on vulnerable children will be explained in detail taking into account factors that place children in vulnerable positions. The last segment of the chapter focuses on solutions and recommendations.
Chapter Preview


A stakeholder is an individual or organisation that has vested interests in something, so they are actively involved in it (Ringel, Bruch & Knodt, 2021). Psychosocial services refer to interventions that are aimed at nurturing a conducive environment for the cognitive, emotional and social development of children (Emily & Jace, 2019). African philosophy is founded on the principle that “it takes a village to raise a child” (Gumede, 2020, p 74). Therefore, it is everyone’s responsibility to ensure that children are well looked after. Despite the existence or absence of biological relations, every member of the society is regarded as a parent, sibling, uncle, aunt, among other forms of relations. This implies that all these members of the society must play a pivotal role in ensuring that children’s welfare is improved. Therefore, no definitive list of stakeholders who are essential for provision of psychosocial services can be compiled. Teachers, parents, government departments such as ministries of basic education, health, social department, corporate organisations; charity organisations among other players ought to play a critical role in the upbringing of children.

Like other rights such as the right to live, the right to shelter and the right to health, the right to education is fundamental. Article 17 of the African Commission on Human and People’s Rights states that everyone has a right to education.Part 1, Article 3 of The Convention on the Rights of the Child says “In all actions concerning children, whether undertaken by public or private social welfare institutions, courts of law, administrative authorities or legislative bodies, the best interests of the child shall be a primary consideration” (UN cited in UNESCO, 2020: 1. The UN has also adopted eight millennium Development Goals (MDG) to fight poverty and to ensure provision of all children’s needs. Article 4 of The African Charter on the Rights and Welfare of the African Child (ACRWC 1990) prioritizes interests of children in situations in which guardians or authorities make decisions which have a bearing on juveniles.

Children who are orphaned; live in child-headed families have been abandoned; take care of a parent suffering from chronic illness, among others are generally classified as vulnerable children (Mwoma & Pillay 2015). Loss of parents due to death is the main cause of such a situation. Sub-Saharan Africa has the largest contributor to global statistics of vulnerable children (Chinyama; Rembe & Sibanda, 2019). South Africa has the highest rate of HIV/AIDS infection in Africa (Burkholder, 2019). 10% of the people infected with HIV/AIDS in the world are children (Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS), (Mwoma & Pillay, 2015). Children who are born of HIV/AIDS patients face a risk of infection at childbirth. If they contract the disease, their immune system becomes compromised exposing them to other diseases. Although antiretroviral tablets (ARVs) have enabled many patients to work, others’ work rates have been affected which often leads to early retirement.

In 2018, Eastern Cape had a total of 80000 double- orphaned children, while Gauteng had 93000, (Children’s Institute, 2021). Free State and Kwazulu-Natal had 39000 and 111000 double orphaned children, (Children’s Institute, 2021). Limpopo and Mpumalanga province had equal number of double orphaned children totaling 45000 as of 2018 (Children’s Institute, 2021). Double orphaned children in this context refers to the children who, lost both parents.

To add more, North -West province and Northern Cape province had 41000 and 9000 double orphaned children respectively. Western Cape had a total of 9000 double orphaned children, (Children’s Institute, 2021). Overally, South Africa had over 40,0000 double orphaned children in 2018, (Children’s Institute, 2021). These statistics are essential in that they show the exact picture of the demographics in South Africa. All these children if they do not get support from different educational stakeholders, they can be exposed to diverse psychosocial problems. It is therefore imperative for all the concerned stakeholders in the different provinces to design effective and efficient policies to address problems faced by these children. Although, at provincial level there can be such policies, at national level there should be more policies that address the specific needs of children affected by psychosocial problems.

Key Terms in this Chapter

Guardian: A person, other than a parent, who is responsible for the upkeep of children.

Stakeholder: A person who has a key role to play.

Children: Individuals who are less than 18 years of age.

Caregiver: A person who is entrusted with the care of children below 18.

Orphan: A child who has lost either parent or both.

Psychosocial: The mental effect of a child’s surroundings.

Challenge: Problem or hardship.

Complete Chapter List

Search this Book: