Get more Mail & Guardian
Subscribe or Login

New education policy on gender violence released

The department of higher education, science and innovation has released a policy framework that will help institutions deal with gender-based violence. 

The document, titled “Policy Framework to Address Gender-based Violence in the Post-School Education and Training System”, was released last Friday. It says the policy guidance is needed because universities and other higher education institutions do not have the means to deal with gender-based violence and this leads to survivors not getting the support they require. 

The policy framework will serve as a guide for the post-school education and training system by providing mechanisms and processes that institutions must put in place. It will also compel institutions to not only create awareness of gender-based violence but also prevent it. 

The document notes that from 2016 institutions such as Rhodes University, the University of Cape Town, Nelson Mandela University, the University of Witwatersrand and Tshwane University of Technology have seen students protest against this form of violence. 

“Universities do not have a system in place that collects rape statistics and reports them to the department of higher education and training,” according to the document.

In 2016, students at Rhodes released names of students and staff accused of sexual assault and rape. 

Last year, students at Nelson Mandela University held a silent protest during a graduation ceremony to highlight their concerns about what they said was inaction by the university to deal with “rape culture”. The students held placards, some reading: “My rapist is graduating. Congratulations.”

The document says the implementation of the framework will be part of the performance contract and annual performance appraisal of heads of post-school education and training system institutions. 

It also sets out requirements for university and college councils to develop or review their policies to bring them in line with the policy framework. 

At college level, councils can also appoint committees to oversee and support them in the implementation of their gender-based violence policy. 

The institutions will have to submit regular reports to the department on: the number of gender-based violence cases reported and distinguish between those on-campus and off-campus; the number of cases dealt with through the justice process and those referred for disciplinary proceedings; the time taken to resolve cases and actions taken to mitigate obstacles to resolution of cases; and programmes or interventions to improve safety and reduce gender-based violence incidents. 

Last year in May, then higher education minister Naledi Pandor appointed a ministerial task team to look into to sexual harassment and violence at universities. This came after 12 female academics wrote to her asking her to address issues of sexual offences. The letter raised, among other things, the issue of junior, black women being asked for sexual favours to secure their jobs. 

The team was also tasked to advise the department on the introduction and implementation of the policy framework. 

Subscribe to the M&G

Thanks for enjoying the Mail & Guardian, we’re proud of our 36 year history, throughout which we have delivered to readers the most important, unbiased stories in South Africa. Good journalism costs, though, and right from our very first edition we’ve relied on reader subscriptions to protect our independence.

Digital subscribers get access to all of our award-winning journalism, including premium features, as well as exclusive events, newsletters, webinars and the cryptic crossword. Click here to find out how to join them.

Bongekile Macupe
Bongekile Macupe is an education reporter at the Mail & Guardian.

Related stories

WELCOME TO YOUR M&G

If you’re reading this, you clearly have great taste

If you haven’t already, you can subscribe to the Mail & Guardian for less than the cost of a cup of coffee a week, and get more great reads.

Already a subscriber? Sign in here

Advertising

Subscribers only

Life Esidimeni inquest postponed until August 30

The lawyer for the bereaved families argued that Dr Makgabo Manamela’s requests for postponements have a negative impact on the families of the deceased who seek closure

RECAP: Mbeki tells ANC that land without compensation goes against...

‘This would be a very serious disincentive to investment,’ says Thabo Mbeki in a document arguing that the ANC should not proceed with the Constitutional amendment of section 25

More top stories

South Africa’s audit independence tops World Bank rankings

Only two countries received a perfect score in ​​latest report on national audit institutions

In South Africa, only 5% of chief executives are women

Only 5% of chief executives are women and the gender pay gap is most pronounced in the top JSE-listed companies, according to a PricewaterhouseCoopers...

How to apply for the Covid-19 R350 grant

Asylum seekers with valid permits and caregivers will now also be allowed to apply for the reinstituted social relief of distress grant

Long arm of the riots still affecting health sector

The tumult in KwaZulu-Natal and Gauteng has forced people to go without chronic medication and check-ups, caused shortages at the blood bank and disruptions in the vaccine roll out
Advertising

press releases

Loading latest Press Releases…
×