Durban - Processes to discipline pupils in serious cases of school violence in KwaZulu-Natal are taking far too long and need to be speeded up, provincial education department head Nkosinathi Sishi said on Tuesday.
Speaking at a workshop on violence in schools held by the National Professional Teachers' Organisation of SA in Durban, Sishi said that since the beginning of 2013 he had been involved in the processes to expel 24 children.
But by the time the incidents had been referred to him for a final decision a substantial time had elapsed between the offence and the time it reached him.
“I regard expulsion as the last resort. Our main purpose is not to get them out of school. The schooling system has a duty to teach and to correct. I am unhappy at how long it takes before those matters reach the head of department.”
He said the legal requirements meant that it took a long time before matters were resolved.
He was concerned that teachers needed to focus more on discipline than on their core task of teaching.
Of the 24 cases referred to him for children to be expelled, he had not agreed with the tribunals that made the recommendations in five cases.
Sishi rejected calls for old style corporal punishment to be reinstituted. Instead, a “positive discipline approach” in schools was needed, which effectively pre-empted disciplinary problems.
“A school's philosophy needs to be explicit about respect and discipline,” he said.