Codes of conduct in spotlight

2016-09-13 06:00

Language and hairstyles are the tip of the iceberg of problems with codes of conduct at high schools in the community.

As a result of recent disruptions relating to hairstyles and use of language as San Souci Girls’ High in Newlands, minister of education Debbie Schafer called on all schools in the Western Cape to review their codes of conduct to ensure that they are in line with the values of the constitution, and representative of the school community.

She sent out a circular to remind schools to review codes of conduct periodically to ensure that they achieve their purpose in line with the constitution, while taking into account ongoing discussion on what codes of conduct should require.

One of the most important elements that she highlights is that when drafting a code of conduct all stakeholders of the school must be involved and that the process must be participatory, open and transparent.

“We have asked schools to suggest amendments to the DBE’s guideline, as the WCED continues to improve its approach to drafting codes of conduct,”she says.

“I believe that this process can be conducted in a transparent and participatory way, without disruption to teaching and learning time, or violence.”

People’s Post went out on the streets to find out if there is more to codes of conduct that affects learners.

Most of the major changes learners would like to see is an affective policy in place when it comes to discipline.

Elaine Londt, from Kensington who attended a school in Claremont, felt that her major problem during her recent school career was the inability of the code of conduct to deal with disruptive learners effectively.

“During my time at school there were always a few learners who constantly tried to disrupt classes by being disrespectful to teachers and not interested in their education.

“In some cases calling in parents made matters worse with them not supporting the school and the code of conduct did not matter to them – they just wanted their way.”

Another learner currently at school in Kensington agreed adding that there needs to be more action from the education department when it comes to bullying.

“There’s just too many learners who have bad role models in their lives and they bring that bad attitude to school with them. Codes of conduct should take a deeper look into these elements that are destroying too many learners who are striving to get a good education.”

Gabbi Martin from Heideveld also has some interesting insights when it came to dress codes at schools.

“In my perspective, the code of conduct should be obeyed but if children are disadvantaged and cannot afford school uniforms I believe the school should make an effort to help them by getting donations to help them,” she says.

“At my old school the children always used to dress untidy because of poverty and some teachers were appointed at the school gate in the morning to remove clothing or apparel that did not comply. A code of conduct plays a big role in the learning environment because when you dressed neatly for school you immediately develop a good work ethic.”

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