Gender Based Violence At Universities Remains Concerning


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The Higher Education Department believes that all stakeholders in the sector have a role to play in combating Gender Based Violence at the country' tertiary education institutions. Several initiatives have been introduced by the department in the hope of eliminating Gender Based Violence.


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Gender-Based Violence (GBV) remains a serious concern for many students at South Africa’s universities. Research conducted by Higher Health indicates that 62% of students feel unsafe on campus and are at risk of GBV, while 60% of service staff and 71% of academics did not feel safe respectively.

Higher Education Minister Blade Nzimande says the unfortunate incidents of gender-based violence at universities are of great concern. The Minister was engaging universities on the minimum norms and standards of safety and security required to secure a safe environment on campus for students.

Earlier this year, Minister Nzimande announced the launch of the “Transforming MENtality Programme”. The programme will seek to address toxic masculinity in the Post School Education and Training (PSET) system. 

The programme will be carried out through a multistakeholder partnership within the PSET system with emphasis being placed on mobilising men to be part of championing a world free of gender biases, stereotypes, violence and discrimination.

Working with Higher Health, curricula to ensure social support for survivors of toxic masculinity in the PSET system will be strengthened.

The Minister also announced that a task team would be formed to implement the initiative, as part of the many initiatives tasked with addressing gender-based violence. They acknowledged that the universities may have had to have special programmes for all students on GBV.

A Ministerial Task Team (MTT) report on sexual harassment and GBV in the university sector is expected to be released in the coming months.

In 2020, the Department of Higher Education and Training (DHET) developed a framework for addressing GBV on campuses called the “Policy Framework to Address Gender-Based Violence in the Post-School Education and Training System.”

The policy provides guidelines and recommendations for universities to prevent and respond to GBV incidents.

 

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As students in tertiary institutions continue to face issues of gender-based violence and other threats to their safety, the Department of Higher Education and Training has revealed ways which they plan to keep students safe. 






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