Cape Town - Driven a by deep concern over the increase in violence in schools, the SA Democratic Teachers Union (Sadtu) boosted its "I Am a School Fan" campaign against violence in schools.
The campaign aims to mobilise stakeholders including parents, teachers, learners and government departments to address school-related violence.
The union partnered with Old Mutual, Brand South Africa and the UN Children’s Fund (Unicef) to gain more traction and drive awareness in schools.
Sadtu general secretary Mugwena Maluleka said there were many extensions to the campaign.
Ultimately, it focuses on bettering behaviours and attitudes in learners and teachers.
Maluleka said the main point of the launch in August was to address the prevalence of violence within the schools.
This violence exists on multiple levels.
Thembisa Mapukuta, general manager at Old Mutual said the right to education was enshrined in the constitution and by supporting the "I Am a School Fan" campaign, Old Mutual recognised that right and upholds it.
“As a responsible business, Old Mutual is stepping forward to ensure that the education sector’s systemic challenges are addressed both holistically and collectively,” said Mapukuta.
Education MEC Debbie Schäfer's spokesperson, Kerry Mauchline, said violence prevention in schools was a complex matter, and required cross-governmental partnerships to tackle the causes and consequences of violence.
Schäfer said while policing of crime was the mandate of the police, the Western Cape Education Department (WCED) has played a constructive role in violence prevention through variations interventions to address the problem behaviour that gives rise to violence, as well as addressing the reporting of incidents and support for victims.
Maluleka said the launch was well timed as this is the time when communities were banding together, following the upheaval of lockdown.
“We need each other more than ever.”
“We need to instil mechanisms where there is recourse.
“For example, if a teacher administers corporal punishment, it needs to be reported and dealt with.
“An awareness must also be created of which steps to take when these issues arrive. It’s all very well to hear the message, but then what?”
He said they were also embarking on a social media campaign to reach education workers, which would offer support and recourse for everyone, not just Sadtu members.