Michelle Jones

Education Writer

BULLYING has been identified as a major problem in Western Cape schools by more than a third of pupils and their family members interviewed for a survey.

Thirty-five percent of those surveyed in the Western Cape highlighted bullying as their most significant cause for concern, according to consumer insights company Pondering Panda.

The Western Cape and Gauteng were the provinces most likely to identify bullying as a concern, each with 35 percent. This comes just two weeks after a Gauteng school-ground shooting where a Grade 11 pupil shot and killed a Grade 10 pupil who had allegedly bullied him.

The survey interviewed 7 324 South African pupils, and their family members, aged between 13 and 34, across the country.

An average of 28 percent of pupils said bullying was one of the biggest problems at their school, compared to 31 percent in June, when the survey was previously conducted.

Other problems mentioned by pupils included parents not getting involved (25 percent) and lack of decent toilets (24 percent).

The survey found differences among age groups.

The report read: “Bullying was a greater cause for concern among younger respondents, with 33 percent of 13- to 14-year-olds identifying bullying as a big problem in their schools, compared to 25 percent of 15- to 17-year-olds.”

Black people were less likely to see bullying as a major issue than other race groups, the report said.

“Twenty-six percent of young black South Africans felt bullying was one of the most significant problems facing their schools. In contrast, 40 percent of young whites, 35 percent of coloureds and 52 percent of Indians saw bullying as a serious problem.”

Education MEC Donald Grant said recently that 15 percent of calls made to the Safe Schools call centre this year were about abuse, including bullying.

Following the Gauteng shooting, Basic Education Minister Angie Motshekga said the number of violent attacks among pupils was on the increase.

“This trend cannot be allowed to continue.”