Government mobilises to root out violence in schools

Sunday, September 23, 2018

Government will soon meet stakeholders in an effort to curb the violence plaguing schools.  

Communities have, in the meantime, been urged to be actively involved in the fight against the scourge. 

Acting Government Communication and Information System (GCIS) Director-General Phumla Williams said in a statement that violence in schools is a societal problem that requires all stakeholders to play their part to create a safe schooling environment. 

The stance follows a series of violent incidents in South African classrooms, one of which led to the fatal stabbing of an educator by a pupil in a school in Zeerust, North West. Gadimang Daniel Mokolobate, 24, an educator at Ramotshere Secondary School was stabbed to death earlier this month by a learner after reprimanding him the previous day. 

“Over the past few weeks, our country witnessed unbelievable cases of attacks on teachers, something that strikes at the very core of our education system.

“Violence targeted at teachers is a serious problem that demands the immediate attention of parents, churches, civil society and all stakeholders in the education sector,” said Williams. 

In the wake of the scourge, Basic Education Minister Angie Motshekga is set to hold an urgent meeting with the education sector. The meeting will include educators and learners as well as other stakeholders in law enforcement, labour and the Department of Social Development. 

Chief among matters to be addressed in the meeting is how key stakeholders in the education sector can work together with communities to ensure that violent behavior is arrested. 

Communication and engagement with learners is key to building a conducive schooling environment, Williams said. 

“Violent behavior at schools is unacceptable. Parents and communities need to work together to overcome this challenge. We need to create an environment wherein learners thrive and succeed. One’s behavior is usually influenced by the norms they are associated with. Schools operate within communities and are often a reflection of the community and the social ills that are prevalent. Educators therefore also need support from all stakeholders in society,” Williams said. 

She said educators are significant and valuable, playing an extraordinary role in the development of any society and in particular, the formative years of learners. 

“This lays the foundation of how learners are developed and integrated into society. We cannot sit back and allow attacks on teachers to continue. Schools are meant to be safe for both learners and teachers. Government further reiterates that lawlessness will not be tolerated in our schools.” 

Williams appealed to parents to play their role at home by instilling discipline and values in their children so that they can behave in an acceptable manner. 

The proposal has received backing from North West Premier Job Mokgoro, who was speaking at Mokolobate's funeral on Saturday. 

Addressing mourners, the Premier said a lot needs to be done to ensure that society undergoes serious moral regeneration. 

"That time cannot be postponed; that time is now," Mokgoro said. 

Mxolisi Bomvana, the provincial chairperson of the South African Democratic Teachers Union (SADTU), urged government to prioritise the need for security at schools, saying one death is one too many.

“We call on society to rise and fight the scourge of violence in our communities and at schools. Society owes much to teachers because theirs is not a job but a human service. Respect must reign supreme at schools,” Bomvana insisted. –