The Star Late Edition

Vodacom, DBE join to combat school violence


VODACOM has partnered with the Department of Basic Education (DBE) to place 20 psycho-social profession­als across the country to reduce the scourge of violence plaguing schools.

Vodacom announced this week that it partnered with DBE to place 20 psycho-social profession­als in their Schools of Excellence with an aim to reduce the scourge of violence plaguing schools in the country.

The network said that following rigorous selection process, which

a started in 2020 with the participat­ion of Stellenbos­ch University, so far, ten such profession­als have been placed in KwaZulu Natal, Mpumalanga and Gauteng provinces with effect from the 2021 academic year.

“As a caring company that is committed to addressing societal challenges, Vodacom continues to collaborat­e with the public sector and non-government organisati­ons to find long-lasting solutions to deal with some of the socio-economic problems affecting women and children,” said Vodacom Group director of external affairs Takalani Netshitenz­he.

Netshitenz­he added that in South Africa, school violence was arguably a national crisis.

“Measures, such as this initiative with the DBE, will also provide support to communitie­s, including both the victims and perpetrato­rs of gender-based violence. The programme will address various aspects of gender-based violence including bullying, with the ultimate aim to promote harmony and mutual respect between learners and between learners and educators,” she said.

Vodacom added that the psycho-social profession­als, who were trained by

SI, were a critical resource that will promote a safe and positive school climate, provide support to educators and learners, and encourage student participat­ion and empowermen­t to reduce school violence.

“Although they will be based at the SoEs, they will also service some of the surroundin­g schools in each district,” the network said.

They added that South Africa needed to break the cycle of school violence as the cycle not only worsens a loss of hope and optimism in young people’s future, and the capability to cope with adversity in social and economic environmen­ts.

“Vodacom hopes that through this initiative, they can help to transform schools into places of safety and learning, where learners can flourish without fear and make a positive impact on the communitie­s in which they live and on society more broadly,” the network said.

They added that regular exposure to violence can reinforce the message that it is the preferred way to solve conflict and instil discipline and compromise the ability to form trusting relationsh­ips with others.

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