/ 19 September 2007

Committee mulls roots of violence in SA schools

The growing number of violent incidents in schools stems from problems within society and parents being too lenient, the Gauteng African National Congress’s (ANC) education sub-committee said on Wednesday.

”We need good role models in society to be able to influence children,” said sub-committee chairperson Amon Msane at an education policy working group meeting, held at the Gauteng legislature.

”Parents are too lenient and need to take a more active role with their children. They must take control, and monitor their behaviour at school. Parents also need to develop a better relationship with teachers,” Msane said.

The group, which included all education formations within the ANC, was attended by the South African Democratic Teachers’ Union, the National Education Health and Allied Workers’ Union, the South African Students’ Congress, the South African National Civic Organisation, the National Association of School Governing Bodies, and the Congress of South African Students.

”One of the problems is that some of these children have access to liquor, from shebeens, and even from their parents at parties.

”Parents need to realise this moral problem, and we need to start changing the mindset of communities.”

Msane said the committee was working closely with community policing forums to assess the problem of weapons being brought into schools by pupils.

”Society needs to mobilise to be able to combat this problem.”

The committee conveyed condolences to the family of Mfundo Ntshangase, a grade 11 pupil at King Edward VII School, who was stabbed to death on Sunday by a group of boys at a party in Randburg.

Msane said ensuring early registration for the 2008 academic year, before the closing date of September 28, was also at the top of the meeting’s agenda.

”Parents are encouraged to register their children early so that we have an early start to education next year, and will be able to reach targets.

”Churches and organisations should remind parents to do so.”

The meeting also discussed recent strike action by teachers which left the education sector with lost curriculum time.

It said the Gauteng department of education affirmed its support for the school recovery plan, aimed at assisting pupils to recover lost curriculum time.

”We call upon all stakeholders, parents, religious sectors, communities and all political parties to support all initiatives to make this plan a success,” Msane said. – Sapa