A research conducted by the department of science and technology has revealed that less than 1% of children surveyed never witnessed violence. Known as the Birth-to-20 Plus study, the research was hosted by Wits University in Johannesburg. It was done with the National Research Foundation’s Centre of Excellence n Human Development.It revealed that children suffer violence at home, at school and in the community. Teachers hit kids and their peers bully them, while when they come home they witness domestic violence and street fights.And when a child is naughty or rude, does badly at school or doesn’t tidy up, parents tend to hit and shout at them.But now science is backing up calls for parents to stop hitting their kids, as it damages their brains. Scientists found when a chid is beaten and treat cruelly, it could make them violent, as the part of the brain responsible for being kind to others is affected. When the child is exposed to violence, the part of the brain called amydala becomes overactive, creating stress and fear.Because the brain has to deal with stress, it can’t attend to other things like making good decisions.If a child spends all his energy on dealing with dangerous situations, he can’t develop into a healthy adult, while those who are beaten may even become thugs. In the meantime, Basic Education minister Angie Motshekga has called for a convention with the police, School Governing Bodies and the Social Development Department to tackle difficulties in schools. Speaking in Tshwane on Monday, Motshekga said the education sector had been affected by a number of tragedies and unfortunate incidents.She sent her condolences to the family of Gadimang Mokolobate, who was stabbed by a learner in the North West province on Thursday. “It’s extremely heartbreaking to lose a young teacher who had so much potential. He started teaching at the school in April,” she said.Motshekga said she was shocked to learn of the death of two young children suspected of having died from food poising. She also reflected on the tragic deaths of six pupils in a horrific accident in Mpumalanga and a pupil who drowned in KZN.Motshekga said there were incidents of learners found wiht drugs and explicit videos. In some high schools, objects such as scissors which were used in science laboratories, were used as weapons. “We appeal to parents to be more involved in their children’s lives and speak to the about social ills and dangers.”Motshekga also urged parents to be more vigilant as child abductions were on the rise.She announced that this year’s matric exams would start on October 15. “We expect 787 281 learners to sit for the exams at 8 000 exam centres,” Motshekga said. The department’s director general Mathanzima Mweli said Swahili had been approved in the curriculum.