Education Department Takes Measures To Ensure School Safety

A number of school-based violent incidents have raised concerns about school safety. Steps are now being taken to treat the matter with the urgency that it requires.

In recent weeks, a grade ten Geluksdal Secondary School learner lost his life after being stabbed during a fight after school.

The school has been making the headlines not only for violent incidents but also for racial tensions that have surfaced in the school community.

Recently, the Social Protection, Community, and Human Development cluster has revealed that it has been dealing with social ills in schools, such as bullying, gender-based violence (GBV), child pregnancy, alcohol, and illegal drug selling.

It is also enshrined in the Constitution and the Children’s Act 38 of 2005 that children remain among the most vulnerable citizens in the country and must always be protected through proactive interventions and the promotion of their rights.

In a statement, Department of Basic Education (DBE) Minister Angie Motshekga said

Our schools must be safe, weapons-free, substance-free spaces for learners and teachers, where corporal punishment, sexual abuse, gender-based violence, homophobia, racism, substance abuse and bullying are not tolerated. 

For quality education to be achieved, learners and teachers need to be in a safe and healthy environment, schools also ought to be caring and conducive spaces that are free from violence, abuse, and harm, added Motshekga.

It is for this reason that the Education Department has called on the education sector to institutionalize Care and Support for Teaching and Learning as a tool to improve learner outcomes.

School-based violence has a way of spilling beyond the premises of the school, affecting local communities and instilling fear in learners, suggested some education experts.

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It is for this reason that Basic Education has also called on communities to also play their role in this regard.

The Department of Social Development has confirmed that it is working tirelessly to put measures and interventions in place to address child-related rights violations, including, their protection against incidents of abuse and gender-based violence and femicide.

The department also collaborates with various structures and government departments on the protection of children.

Basic Education has also committed itself to continue working towards equipping young people in schools to make informed decisions about sexuality, and enable them to safely navigate a world of online bullying, sexual abuse, HIV/ AIDS, and early pregnancies through the implementation the Comprehensive Sexuality Education in schools.


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