DBE calls for a symposium on school safety

Monday, September 17, 2018

In light of the social ills that have plagued the school community in recent weeks, the Department of Basic Education (DBE) has called for an inter-departmental symposium to address safety in schools.

This comes on the back of a number of child abductions and violent incidents that have taken place inside and outside school grounds.

“Schools operate within communities and are often a reflection of the community and the social ills that are found in these communities. We need support from all around us as education. It brings to mind the old adage, ‘It takes a village to raise a child’. This really speaks to our situation in education as we cannot deal with these issues on our own,” said Basic Education Minister Angie Motshekga.

The call for a symposium follows a meeting held by the Council of Education Ministers (CEM), which met last week Thursday, to discuss a number of topics affecting the education sector.

Just last week, a learner reportedly stabbed a 24-year-old teacher to death in the North West. The teacher, Gadimang Daniel Mokolobate, had only started teaching at the school in April this year.

In another incident in Gauteng, a learner pointed a gun at a teacher.

“It is unfortunate that as a sector responsible for education, we have to deal with these types of incidents, often distracting us from our core business of learning and teaching.

“However, this is the reality of the areas wherein our schools are located.

“We will continue to appeal to our parents to be more involved in the lives of their children and to ensure that they speak to them and warn them about these social ills and the dangers involved. Parents need to ensure that learners do not go to school with guns or weapons,” cautioned the Minister.

The symposium will take place with the South African Police Service (SAPS), the Department of Social Development as well as School Governing Body organisations.

As part of a protocol between SAPS and DBE, 18 000 schools have been paired with police stations.

However, Motshekga said it was time to ramp up activities between the two entities to ensure greater success.

According to Motshekga, the Western Cape Department of Education reported to CEM that they have had three confirmed abductions. The children, however, were found and returned to their families.

Regrettably, another abduction did not have the same happy ending, with one learner found dead four days later.

There have also been an additional 16 reports of attempted abductions in the Western Cape.

Motshekga said her department is working closely with schools and police to ensure that learners are safe when leaving school and also to ensure parents take every precaution in keeping their children safe.

“During our symposium with police and parents, we will be looking at how we can work together to find ways to ensure learner safety.

“While some of these incidents don’t necessarily take place in our schools, they still affect our school community and contribute to the safety and security of our learners,” said Motshegka. –SAnews.gov.za