Make schools a safe haven for learners

2017-11-08 06:00
Matshidiso Pholoana - Social Observer

Matshidiso Pholoana - Social Observer

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

The recent alleged sexual harassment of primary school learners in Soweto has been a shuddering event – not only to the province, but to the entire nation.

It is very disconcerting that when parents are expecting their children to be safe at schools, they turn out to be victims of sexual harassment and violence.

The blame should entirely be put on the perpetrators who do not recognise the importance of school and the contribution it makes in transforming the country. The Department of Education is doing all it can to promote education and to make sure all learners are safe.

However, a few rotten apples, through their muddy conduct, wants to put the Department of Education into opprobrium.

I firmly believe that what has unfolded in Gauteng, is an indication that there are a few individuals who must be dealt with precisely by facing the full might of the law.

It cannot be that a safe institution for learning and education becomes a safe place for sexual harassment of children, perpetrated by those who ought to provide guidance and security.

When the story broke about 87 learners’ sexual harassment by a guard and that the school principal coerced the learners into not reporting the incidents to their parents, I was very perturbed.

I must really commend the Gauteng MEC for Education, Panyaza Lesufi, and the Gauteng government, for really showing commitment towards tackling the matter by acting when this incident came to the fore.

But this has triggered my mind that such incidents could also escalate to other provinces if not attended to. Measures should be put in place.

Based on the recent sexual harassment and assault cases in our schools, I think the following should be put in place:

  • A commission of enquiry on preventative measures to combat such incidents before they occur and provide strong recommendations;
  • extended oversight on schools by the Department of Education and legislature committees;
  • 24-hour police presence at schools, which will provide security and other external police services such as certification of documents;
  • comprehensive public participation and consultation;
  • the installation of surveillance cameras; and
  • the screening of officials and members of school governing bodies (SGB).

Schools should be the safest place where teaching, learning and guidance take place.

To make a school a safe place, it takes both parents and SGBs, as well as government efforts.
– Matshidiso Pholoana is a fiscal policy assistant director (policy research) at the Free State Treasury and wrote this article in his personal capacity.
)
Express invites anyone to contribute to the weekly column. There is no payment for writers.
Send your opinion piece on any issue you deem important to the public to teboho.setena@­­­volksblad.com.

Opinion pieces can be in Sotho or English and must not exceed 500 words.

Join the conversation!

24.com encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.
NEXT ON NEWS24X

Inside News24

 
/News
Traffic Alerts
Traffic
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.




Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.