Are schools safe?

2018-10-24 06:03
PHOTO: nkosinathi dubeSchool violence has rapidly increased recently, leading to pupils and teachers fearing for their safety.

PHOTO: nkosinathi dubeSchool violence has rapidly increased recently, leading to pupils and teachers fearing for their safety.

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THERE has been a growing concern in South Africa regarding schools safety with increasing reports of violence, especially targeting teachers, perpetrated mainly by pupils.

A number of incidents have been reported around the country, ranging from assault to murder, with over 50 cases off assault against teachers by pupils or community members reported since March this year. The increase in school violence has left various stakeholders in society worried as some schools have even been robbed at gunpoint and some broken into and school valuables stolen.

In KwaDukuza, Stanger Secondary School was robbed at gunpoint last month during a grade eight registration where suspects acted as parents to gain entry to the school.

Another incident, where a teacher was robbed recently on school premises, has raised the question: “How safe are our schools?”

The South African Democratic Teachers Union (Sadtu) in KwaDukuza has condemned the level of violence in schools.

Branch secretary Nduduzo Ngcobo said they have made submissions of their concerns as Sadtu to the Department of Education in the district, saying: “As Sadtu, we are deeply concerned about the violence in our schools as most recently the attacks on two schools in KwaDukuza, which is Stanger Secondary and KwaDukuza Primary, are part of this scourge and we feel that our teachers are not safe.

“What’s more disturbing is that the department of education is not taking action and our teachers fear for their safety. We do hope that they will act on these concerns soon.”

A local teacher who asked to remain anonymous said she goes to school daily with newfound fear.

“School used to be such a great, happy place of learning but now we as teachers are afraid to go to school. I am a primary school teacher and I am afraid, I cannot imagine those who teach in secondary schools. Pupils these days have no regard for their teachers.

“They feel like they are above authority and this is very different from the days when I was in school.

“Teachers used to be honoured and respected. It is a sad state of affairs in schools these days,” she said, adding: “On top of all that now we are being robbed and attacked by criminals and the pupils are also becoming victims of kidnapping. Despite having security we are just not safe anymore.”

As the final examinations commence this week, the iLembe District will be hoping for a smooth, incident free writing for their pupils as they look to increase the pass rate from the dismal showing in the past two years.

Attempts to obtain comment from the Department of Education were unsuccessful at the time of going to press.

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