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.