R22 million injection for safe schools programme

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Pretoria - R22 million has been allocated for the safe schools programme aimed at improving physical security measures in Western Cape schools.

Presenting the department's 2010/11 budget on Wednesday, Education MEC Donald Grant, said while infrastructure and maintenance allocations will contribute significantly to improving learning outcomes, there is a need to ensure that learners are not scared.

He said a number of proactive steps have been taken to ensure that learners are secure once they are behind school gates.

"This allocation will contribute towards improved physical security measures such as metal detectors, fences, alarms and safety gates as well as the implementation of behavioural and attitudinal programmes in our schools," Grant said.

The department will also increase the number of search and seizure operations conducted by the SAPS to rid schools of weapons and drugs.

The operations were initiated through an interaction between the department and the SAPS and since then, Grant said, the zero-tolerance message is starting to get through to would-be offenders.

"Any incident of violence is one too many, the department will stop at nothing to ensure that schools are made secure environments in which to learn."

Grant also called for assistance from broader community to ensure learners' safety once they leave their schools.

"We know that there are many challenges in this regard; this was highlighted last week by the senseless and seemingly gang-related murder of Ntsikelelo Mangolothi, a Grade 10 learner outside Masibambisane High School in Delft.

"While we strive to improve learning outcomes in the curriculum, we are also determined to teach our learners a very valuable lesson in life - violence does not resolve conflict," Grant said.