DA concerns regarding school safety in public schools

Safiyia Stanfley, MPL

DA Provincial Spokesperson of Education

Safety within schools is key towards creating an environment in which teaching and learning can flourish. Reports of recurring breaks-in at Flamingo Primary School are therefore concerning to the DA.

Although security at some vulnerable schools may have been improved, schools are still largely left on their own to cope with the issues of theft and vandalism that plague them. At the same time, infrastructure projects of the Education Department tend to give little focus towards real security issues, aside from the standard erection of fences. This alone, however, is not nearly enough to protect our schools, least of all at a time when theft and robberies are on the increase in the Northern Cape.

The occurrence of crime at schools not only creates an unsavoury atmosphere, which is not conducive to learning, but it also robs learners of teaching aides and valuable resources that have the potential to enrich their learning experience.

The DA proposes that the department implements a more targeted approach towards budgeting for security measures at vulnerable schools. Security experts could advise on appropriate security enhancements depending on the specific context of the school. We also suggest that a database of crimes and incidents of violence at schools must be developed. The logging of incidents should then form part of each principal’s monthly reporting duties. This would assist in analysing the causes and methods of school-based violence so that corrective action can be taken.

The DA is mindful that safety is every bodies business and that it should not be left up to the Education Department alone. We therefore urge parents and learners to take ownership of their schools and to become more vigilant as far as safety is concerned.

The DA will submit parliamentary questions to ascertain the frequency and extent of robberies at schools in the province, the level of security services at public schools, as provided for by the Education Department, as well as the degree to which the department is collaborating with the Department of Transport, Safety and Liaison on this matter.