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Waldorf teacher training seminar in South Africa gains temporary reprieve

By NNA staff

CAPE TOWN (NNA) – An appeal for donations from the Berlin-based international organisation Friends of Waldorf Education has temporarily rescued the Centre for Creative Education (CCE) in Cape Town, South Africa, from financial collapse. As the Friends explain in their November appeal, the Waldorf teacher training seminar has been short of at least 1.5m rand (£111 000, US$178 000) since the start of the year. One of the funding sources for the CCE was the national lottery which stopped its payments this year.

The CCE is the most important and thus far only state-recognised Waldorf teacher training facility in Africa – important not just for students from South Africa but other African countries as well. In Cape Town, one of the main tasks is to train kindergarten teachers alongside Waldorf teachers and eurythmists. Many of these kindergarten teachers go on to work in Educare Centres where the CCE supports about 6000 children to enable them to grow up in a child-centred way.

“Almost all kindergarten teachers come from very poor backgrounds. During their part-time training they work in kindergartens in the townships. On the one hand this allows the women, who for various reasons are often single mothers, to put food on the table for their children while they are training. On the other hand it gives them the opportunity to put what they have learnt into practice and thus deepen it,“ the managing director of the CCE, Helen Stotko, wrote in the autumn newsletter of the Friends of Waldorf Education.

Once it became clear that there would be no lottery funding, extensive crisis plans were prepared with a search for new long-term funding. In addition, contact with the authorities is being intensified. The education authority has renewed the accreditation of the centre’s training programme despite the financial crisis and continues to signal a lively interest in Waldorf education.

According to the appeal for donations, the centre will, in addition to other measures, aim to set up additional recognised provision for advanced teacher training. The centre would also like to develop its collaboration with the University of Johannesburg. There are already two comprehensive research projects which are looking at Waldorf education in the context of South Africa. The possibility of student jobs was also currently being expanded.

A majority of people in South Africa are still living below the poverty line. Education thus turns into a luxury rather than a basic human right. In the South African townships, 75 percent of children under six do not attend a kindergarten. Often they are locked up during the day because their parents are worried about what will otherwise happen to them and spend their time in front of the television.

“The CCE’s emergency situation made it clear to us that we have to find new solutions to finance our day-to-day expenditures. We are working to make the way we function more efficient. As of now students will also be included in the work that needs to be done,“ Helen Stotko wrote in the Friends’ newsletter. “We are also trying to involve the Waldorf institutions in South Africa in taking responsibility. We would like them to participate significantly in the maintenance and financing of the CCE. After all, as a training centre the CCE is the starting point for all Waldorf schools and kindergartens in South Africa.”


Item: 121130-01EN Date: 30 November 2012 

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