A recent report has revealed that schools have become less safe for teachers in the Western Cape. This come after it was found that over 180 teachers have been attacked on school premises with nine incidents reported during this academic year.
The Spokesperson for the MEC of Education in the Western Cape, Kerry Mauchline says that most of these incidents are perpetuated by learners as opposed to outside criminals.
She also points out that the majority of these reported incidents are those that have been classified as superficial incidents. This includes altercations and arguments, some of which, involve pushing and shoving and often require no medical attention.
Mauchline adds that these minor incidents usually involve no weapons and when that happens to be the case, the Department considers that to be a more serious issue.
Another challenging issue for the Education Department is around behavioural changes in pupils, particularly in cases where they bring that to the schooling environment.
Our biggest problem that we struggle with is that when learners are experiencing problem behaviour from an early age is that they bring that with them to school. And as we know, the behaviour of children and that of adults is quite a complex set of circumstances that give rise to that and that's what makes it so difficult to address.
According to Mauchline, the Provincial Education Department has also implemented some interventions that have yielded some positive results in dealing with this issue.
Knowing what the problem is, the department has been investing a lot of time and energy in dealing with that. And I think we are seeing results in some of those interventions whether they be psycho-social interventions or our transformed reform strategy, which also looks at this issue.
Mauchline further states that these statistical figures have been decreasing and that the way the Covid-19 pandemic has affected school attendance has also been a factor.
One of the main parts of the department's psychosocial intervention is that it provides training in conflict management for both teachers and pupils. And also looks at identifying learners with behavioural problems well in advance.
The department also has social workers as well psychologists stationed in its district offices who recommend the appropriate interventions.
In addition to this, the WCED also works with other departments such as the Department of Social Development, as well as Law Enforcement, to address these issues before they escalate.