Media Monitoring Africa (MMA) commends GroundUp for reporting on a story titled, “Refugee children wait years to get into schools” (04/10/2021).  The story is selected as a GLAD[1] because it also provides a platform for a child to share his experiences.

The story by Masego Mafata is about the challenges that refugee and immigrant children face with access to state schooling in South Africa.  It is highlighted in the article that a lot of migrant and refugee children still cannot access education even after a ruling by “the Makhanda High Court in December 2019 on the Admission of Learners to Public Schools, which said all children must be conditionally admitted to school while parents try to get documents”.

GroundUp is commended for accessing one of the children, a grade seven whose parents migrated to South Africa and who faces challenges of getting admitted into a state school.  MMA has found that it is the norm for such stories to be told without children’s voices and we frown upon this because accessing children for them to share their experience is vital as it affords them an opportunity to tell their stories from their own perspectives. This is important because it not only enriches stories but also empowers children to speak up and out about issues facing them.

This kind of reporting is in line with MMA’s Editorial Guidelines and Principles for Reporting on Children in the Media which state, “Children have a right to have their views heard on matters that affect them, so the media should try and include them.” [2]

Such an effort by the journalist and GroundUp could help to increase the number of media stories on children with children’s voices. A recent media monitoring report by MMA on coverage of children revealed that children’s voices in the media stood at 7% in 2020 which is a decrease when compared to the 12% recorded in 2016.

MMA congratulates Masego Mafata for the story and urges the journalist to continue reporting on issues facing children and also including their voices especially when it is in the children’s best interest.

Written by Musa Rikhotso

Edited by Lister Namumba

[1] A GLAD  is awarded to media for reporting about children in a positive way