CAPE TOWN – The Basic Education Department said it was concerned its anti-violence strategy was not yielding any results.
It required all stakeholders to play a role in ensuring the policies and guidelines were effectively implemented.
The issue of violence in the education sector has been thrust into the spotlight with recent incidents of stabbings, shootings, gang violence and armed robberies in schools across the country.
The department said crime prevention and the teaching of positive values and morals required a joint effort from parents and communities.
In a statement on Thursday, the department said violent tendencies emanated from society.
The department has called on parents to maintain learner discipline.
It also wanted parents to engage with teachers, check school bags for homework and attend all parent-teacher meetings.
It went on to encourage community leaders to ensure learners were at school and refrained from gang activity.
The department said it remained committed to creating safe schools but warned it could not do it alone as violence and gangsterism were deeply rooted in some communities.
ISS CALLS FOR PARTNERSHIPS
At the same time, the Institute for Security Studies (ISS) said stronger partnerships between law enforcement agencies and communities will help address violence in schools.
The ISS said it was concerned about the increase in school violence countrywide.
ISS CEO Patrick Burton said an integrated approach was needed to address violence in schools.
This included frequent patrols by police and community and civil organisations assistance.
Burton said metal detectors and searches did not have a positive effect.
“I think we need very close relations and cooperation between schools and the police patrols around schools. What we really need is strong partnerships between all the role players.”
Burton has rejected the idea that armed teachers could make schools safer.
“Exposure to guns is likely to increase violence instead of decreasing it.”
WC SCHOOL HOLIDAYS PROGRAMME
Meanwhile, as schools close for the winter period on Friday, several activities have been planned at various Western Cape schools to keep learners safe.
The aim of the safe schools’ holiday programme included providing activities for children while also protecting schools by ensuring the facilities were visibly utilised during this period.
Educational programmes and fun activities were also planned to keep the pupils busy.
The Western Cape Education MEC’s spokesperson Jessica Shelver said: “Schools programmes are designed to keep our children positively engaged, entertained and safe, especially in areas where there are greater risks of exposure to sensitive violence and gangsterism.”