Pupils at Ikhusi primary school in Khayelitsha are ready to start the new academic year. Picture: Ayanda Ndamane / African News Agency (ANA)
Cape Town – The safety of pupils at school is vital, and so a new risk classification tool is being developed so that security infrastructure and other resources are deployed when and where they are needed most.

Provincial education department spokesperson Bronagh Hammond said as many safety issues were still a concern, especially in areas where gangsterism is rife, they have collaborated with other departments and local government to improve safety in and around schools.

“The department is committed to ensuring a quality education for every pupil, in every classroom across the Western Cape.

“A safe learning environment is a critical requirement for quality teaching and learning to take place, but the violence is unacceptable and concerning. 

"We are introducing a school risk-classification tool which has been developed in consultation between the Western Cape Education Department, the City of Cape Town, SAPS and the Department of Community Safety. 

"This tool will allow us to identify and classify existing and emerging safety risks so that the relevant security infrastructure is deployed where most needed,” said Hammond.

She said school resource officers (SROs) were another valuable tool which assisted in times of emergency.

“We have 53 schools involved, with 136 officers. The role these officers play in our schools is absolutely significant.

“Not only do they have the skills to react to certain emergency situations but they also provide a sense of safety and protection,” said Hammond.

In the middle of last year additional law enforcement officers were deployed in hot-spot areas across the province to safeguard pupils returning to school.

Community Safety MEC Albert Fritz’s spokesperson, Cayla Murray, said the provincial government was liaising with the City about the redeployment of the officers.

“Following the previous school holiday break in July, additional SROs were deployed to schools in communities ravaged by gangsterism and drug-related cases,” said Murray.

Cape Times