School security a major concern for the department

POLOKWANE – The Department of Basic Education takes school safety very seriously and as an apex priority, the department has put in place various policies and measures to ensure the safety of all learners, educators and relevant stakeholders in schools. This action comes after the burglary of several schools in the city in recent months. Spokesperson for Education, Dr.

Rasila Naledzani, told Review the Department reiterates that there is no place for violence, drug-use/abuse, sexual harassment or other criminal acts in schools as it poses a serious barrier to learning. There is great focus on the inculcation of values and ethics and of a just and caring society within schools and communities. “The Department views these ills in a serious light because they carry a potential to deprive our learners of their inherent constitutional rights to life, education, equality and dignity,” he said. Rasila said even though security features such as burglar bars, security gates and alarm systems are the responsibility of the school itself and the school governing body, there have been cases where the department did assist.

He added that interventions have focused on addressing elements of physical infrastructure related to proper fencing, alarm systems and burglar proofing. According to the Education Department’s data published in the South African Institute of Race Relations (SAIRR) report of 2016, 35% of the country’s schools had no security gates, 24% had no burglar bars, while a worrying 80% had no alarm systems. The Department will continue in earnest to protect the rights of all children in schools.

The success of these efforts relies largely on collective efforts of parents and communities to work together with schools to ensure that all children are safe and realise their full potential in school.

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