Today over one thousand Equal Education (EE) members from over 50 schools will be marching to demand safer schools in the Western Cape. EE had planned to hold four separate marches but will now be having a single march to the Cape Teaching and Learning Institute in Kuilsriver, where Western Cape Education Department district directors will be meeting with Premier Helen Zille. Government officials and politicians must know that EE members will chase you if you run away from your obligations to learners of this country!
EE’s social audit, conducted in 244 schools located in seven out of eight education districts, serving over 200 000 learners, revealed:
- Corporal punishment takes place at 83% of schools
- 4 out of 5 learners report that teachers use sticks, batons, pipes, and other objects to hit them.
- At 1 out of 3 schools there had been drug/alcohol use in the last 3 months
- 1 out of 6 schools had a gang presence in the last 3 months
- More than half the schools have had a robbery in the last year
- At 1 out of 4 schools there had been a case of vandalism in the last year
- At 1 out of 9 schools a stabbing had occurred in the last year
- At 3% of schools there had been a case of rape reported in the last year and learners reported incidences of sexual assault at 16% of schools
- Less than half (47%) of schools have a full-time security guard
- At only 54% of the schools with security guards had those guards been trained
- While 98% of schools were fenced, 42% of schools have holes in their fences
- Only half of schools have a fence that can actually keep people out
It has long been clear to EE members that there is a safety crisis facing communities in this province. One only need look at what has been unfolding in Manenberg to see how ill-equipped our schools are to deal with the effects of this on learners, teachers and parents.
Today we will be handing over three sets of detailed information on our findings directly to senior district education officials. The first will be school-level audits undertaken by Equalisers, which will provide district heads with information about safety issues at individual schools. The second set of information is the social audit safety data for the district, so that district officials may look into the specific conditions at schools that EE auditors observed and recorded from learners and administrators. And last will be a summary of the social audit safety findings for the entire province, which will provide a broad overview of the major issues affecting school safety in the Western Cape.
We will be putting forward one demand today: that each education district director consider the information we present to them, and respond within two weeks with a clear plan detailing how they plan to address the school safety crisis in this province.
For further comment:
Nishal Robb (Head of EE Western Cape) – 079 511 6790
Mase Ramaru (Deputy Head of EE Western Cape) – 076 666 5614
Tshepo Motsepe (General Secretary of Equal Education) – 071 886 5637