The Department of Higher Education and Training is looking at collaborating with the gender-based violence command centre to address the scourge at institutions of higher learning.
The centre operates under the Department of Social Development and provides support as well as counselling to victims of gender based violence.
Deputy Minister of Higher Education and Training Buti Manamela visited the centre in Tshwane on Thursday with an objective to establish the operations of the command centre and ways in which students can also be assisted in this centre.
“We have to deal with issues around behaviour, conduct, social relations on campuses and perceptions to deal with patriarchal issues. We also have to give young people a platform to express themselves on issues of gender based violence,” Manamela said.
The Deputy Minister said he would discuss areas of cooperation with the Department of Social Development with the intention of providing a service for students.
HEAIDS Technical Advisor Managa Pillay said the bigger picture is about the feeling of safety and creating an enabling space for teaching and learning.
“We are developing a policy framework for the higher education sector, which is intended to develop a set of minimum standards so that colleges and universities have the ability and capability to manage gender based violence and prevent it across the sector,” Pillay said.
The policy framework is in the process of being gazetted for public comments.
Pillay said the Department of Higher Education and Training is engaging with policy questions and preparing the framework for gazetting.
“In terms of the programme elements, we are looking at nationwide prevention, education and awareness campaigns. We are also looking at institution policy development, implementation strategy and capacity development of disciplinary tribunals within our institutions. We are really looking at how we can create a victim centred response within our universities and colleges,” she said.
She said psycho-social support for students was also important, as suicide was a concern among students.
The department said gender based violence at higher education institutions needs to be curbed, as it interferes with students’ lives and careers.
“It is for this reason that we are finding preventative as well as corrective measures to deal with this scourge,” the department said. – SAnews.gov.za