Safety at Chris Hani schools put in (hot) spot­light


SAFETY at schools in the Chris Hani dis­trict has come un­der the spot­light as the ed­u­ca­tion de­part­ment bat­tles is­sues like vi­o­lence and drug use among pupils.

Ac­cord­ing to the Eastern Cape ed­u­ca­tion de­part­ment cur­rently head­ing a schools safety pa­trol train­ing pro­gramme to curb crim­i­nal ac­tiv­ity at schools, in con­junc­tion with the Ex­panded Pub­lic Works Pro­gramme (EPWP), 98 “hot spot” schools have been iden­ti­fied in the prov­ince.

Sev­eral pa­trol of­fi­cers who will fo­cus on schools in the Chris Hani dis­trict grad­u­ated from a train­ing pro­gramme at the Gali Them­bani Youth Care Cen­tre last week.

Schools safety man­ager in the Eastern Cape Mpatisi Songca said the EPWP had al­lo­cated R2.5-mil­lion to fund the stipend of R1 700 per se­cu­rity of­fi­cer.

The train­ing was aligned to meet the re­quire­ments of the na­tional schools safety frame­work, launched by De­part­ment of Ba­sic Ed­u­ca­tion Min­is­ter Angie Mot­shekga.

The pa­trol work­ers at Chris Hani dis­trict schools will fo­cus on deal­ing with drug use, vi­o­lence and bul­ly­ing which were caus­ing dis­rup­tions in schools.

Songca said the pro­gramme, started last year, was al­ready show­ing re­sults.

“Its im­pact is ev­i­dent, crime has de­creased af­ter se­cu­rity was de­ployed at schools and there has been an im­prove­ment in the dis­ci­pline of pupils.

“Safety is no longer just the re­spon­si­bil­ity of teach­ers, it is a so­ci­etal is­sue. Com­mu­nity mem­bers must play their role in schools.”

He said the pro­gramme was in de­mand, with schools and the de­part­ment dis­cussing ways of se­cur­ing more fund­ing.

Co­or­di­na­tor Yolanda Nkat­hazo said the EPWP was launched by the ed­u­ca­tion de­part­ment in 2014 and the school safety pa­trols pro­gramme was ini­ti­ated in 2015. Prin­ci­pals, SGB struc­tures, com­mu­nity mem­bers and stake­hold­ers were re­spon­si­ble for re­cruit­ing com­mu­nity mem­bers as se­cu­rity of­fi­cers. Four Chris Hani dis­trict schools are par­tic­i­pat­ing.

Safety pa­trol trainee Zo­lile Ndif said the close prox­im­ity of tav­erns to schools was a con­trib­u­tory fac­tor to the high crime rate in pupils.

Ndif said re­mov­ing tav­erns from op­er­at­ing near schools would as­sist tremen­dously, along with mo­bile po­lice sta­tions and po­lice vis­i­bil­ity at schools.

The Rep has re­quested a list of “hot spot” schools in the Chris Hani dis­trict from the ed­u­ca­tion de­part­ment.

This had not been re­ceived at the time of go­ing to press.

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