Over 1m en­dure vi­o­lence at school

Daily Dispatch - - Front Page - By BIANCA CAPAZORIO

OVER one mil­lion school pupils ex­pe­ri­enced vi­o­lence such as bul­ly­ing, cor­po­ral pun­ish­ment or as­sault at school, the De­part­ment of Ba­sic Ed­u­ca­tion told par­lia­ment.

Brief­ing the ba­sic ed­u­ca­tion com­mit­tee on safety in schools, the de­part­ment’s direc­tor for school safety, Paseka Njobe, said 22.2% of pupils had ex­pe­ri­enced some form of vi­o­lence in schools and 20.9% had ex­pe­ri­enced on­line vi­o­lence.

“The 22.2% trans­lates to 1 020 597 sec­ondary school learn­ers who had fallen vic­tim to some sort of vi­o­lence at school in the past 12 months,” the de­part­ment said.

About 20% of pupils had also ex­pe­ri­enced on­line vi­o­lence such as ha­rass­ment or bul­ly­ing.

The data comes from a 2012 study con­ducted by the Cen­tre of Jus­tice and Crime Pre­ven­tion. The study has so far been con­ducted ev­ery five years, and the de­part­ment is hop­ing to con­duct a fresh one soon.

Njobe told the com­mit­tee that schools in com­mu­ni­ties with so­cial prob­lems like drugs and poverty had higher rates of vi­o­lence, as did those which were poorly man­aged.

Njobe said that bul­ly­ing re­mained a ma­jor prob­lem in schools, but in­creas­ing num­bers could also be a re­sult of bet­ter re­port­ing rates.

Ac­cord­ing to their data, 18% of pupils re­ported be­ing bul­lied on a weekly ba­sis.

This, in turn had an im­pact on their aca­demic ca­reers – those who ex­pe­ri­ence no bul­ly­ing were found to out­per­form those who were reg­u­larly bul­lied by as many as 68 points in math­e­mat­ics.

The 2015 Gen­eral House­hold Sur­vey re­veals that 11.3% of pupils ex­pe­ri­enced cor­po­ral pun­ish­ment at school.

KwaZulu-Natal was the lead­ing prov­ince for cor­po­ral pun­ish­ment in 2015, with just over 20% of learn­ers hav­ing ex­pe­ri­enced cor­po­ral pun­ish­ment at school. The na­tional av­er­age is 11.3%. The com­mit­tee also heard that the class­room was the pri­mary site for school vi­o­lence – with 54% of sex­ual as­saults and 51% of phys­i­cal as­saults tak­ing place in the class­room.

Direc­tor-gen­eral for the de­part­ment Hu­bert Mathanz­ima Mweli said school vi­o­lence “un­der­mines the core busi­ness of the de­part­ment which is teach­ing and learn­ing”. — DDC

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