KwaZulu-Natal ranked third in the country for its number of violent school hotspots, with 202 incidents. But bullying remains a major challenge, as it most often occurred in the classroom, generally in the absence of a teacher: Picture Supplied
Durban - KwaZulu-Natal ranked third in the country for its number of violent school hotspots, with 202 incidents.

Mpumalanga came first with 414 incidents and Gauteng second with 251. According to Basic Education Minister Angie Motshekga, from the total of 1 345 incidents, bullying was the most common form of violence in these schools.

“Bullying remains a major challenge, as it most often occurred in the classroom, generally in the absence of a teacher,” said Motshekga.

“Globally, 32% of (pupils) had been bullied at least once in the past month, 32.4 % had been physically attacked in the past year, and 36% had been in a physical fight in the past year.

Citing 2015 research, the minister said bullying was far more common at no-fee schools with 48% of pupils claiming to have been bullied on a weekly basis. At private schools the figures were lower, with a quarter of the pupils reporting being bullied on a regular basis.

Motshekga said another form of bullying that was becoming prevalent was cyberbullying.

Adeshini Naicker, KwaZulu-Natal operations manager for Childline SA, said children could be targeted for a number of reasons, adding that the organisation had programmes that dealt with bullying that also focused on the bullies themselves and what they could do to change their behaviour. She said the programme taught victims how to react to bullies.

Vee Gani, chairperson of the KZN Parents’ Association, said parents had to take a central role as they should not deny their children’s errant behaviour.

He said bullying occurred everywhere and noted that parents did not want to send their children to schools that had problems. He agreed no-fee schools had the most bullying.

“A contributing factor is that the schools are in poor areas which have societal issues such as violence, drug abuse and women abuse. Private schools have more resources, more rules and the right personnel to deal with bullying.”

Daily News