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Parents play a vital role in helping to prevent violence at schools and ensuring discipline, Basic Education Minister Angie Motshekga said on Monday.
“I am surprised when you say we blame parents too much. Kids are - in most instances - a symbol of where they come from. You can see a child's home by the time they walk through the door,” she said.
“I really don't think you can exempt parents too much and say we are supposed to pick it up. Schools are also a little world of what our world is... We come from a very violent society... and it does spill over to our schools.”
She said parents should help teach children to respect teachers and prepare children for school so that teachers could teach.
Motshekga was speaking at The New Age's business breakfast in Fourways.
Homes were very important in terms of preparation for school, she said.
“One incident of violence is one too many. I can assure you that a majority of our kids still respect teachers,” she said.
“The problem of violence for me in schools is actually bullying, where learners among themselves have this secret violence - and that for me is more serious.”
The issue of violence in schools comes after various violent incidents were reported in October.
On October 17, two grade eight pupils at the Azara High School in Lenasia were suspended for allegedly assaulting a teacher.
A 15-year-old boy was arrested after a Pretoria schoolboy's ear was sliced off and three other pupils were badly wounded with a machete during a violent attack by a rival school gang on October 11.
On October 8, a disciplinary hearing was held for a 14-year-old Johannesburg schoolboy who allegedly punched his teacher at the Jim Fouche Primary School.
A pupil who assaulted a teacher, and a classmate who took a video of the assault, were suspended at Glenvista High School earlier this month.
Speaking about basic needs such as sanitation and furniture, Motshekga said it was important to ensure that all schools were fully equipped.
“With happy children, we can do more,” she said.
Motshekga wished the matric class of 2013 well with the end-of-the-year exams.
“We can go home satisfied that we have a solid foundation for an education system for a knowledge-based global economy,” she said.
Education standards continued to improve because of programmes put in place, she said. - Sapa