'Rate of violence in SA schools alarming'

Some teachers are still using corporal punishment as a means of effecting discipline.

Basic Education Minister Angie Motshekga. Picture: Vumani Mkhize/EWN.

JOHANNESBURG - The Basic Education Department said problems around discipline in the country's schools are posing a major threat to the quality of education.

The department held a safety summit in Johannesburg yesterday where unions and student organisations deliberated on ways to address issues such as bullying.

Minister Angie Motshekga said while next year marks a decade since corporal punishment was abolished in all schools in the country, it's evident that some teachers still practice it as a means of effecting discipline.

"So even things that we've outlawed, we've democratised, we think there's more open society, more open culture, violence still continues."

She said the rate at which violence is growing is alarming and swift action is needed to stop it.

"There's a clear correlation between violence in communities and violence in schools."

While the department said it's doing all it can to eradicate violence in schools, the minister said society needs to show that some of the responsibility.

The minister said violence is destroying the positive culture and climate that the classroom is designed for.

She said communities also play a significant role in influencing the attitudes of pupils.

While the department has launched several initiatives including a national strategy with Saps, it says parents and communities need to step up and do something.

Education stakeholders spent the rest of yesterday deliberating on interventions to curb the scourge of violence in schools.