Picture: African News Agency (ANA)
Picture: African News Agency (ANA)

Unions hail ‘solution’ to KZN school violence

By SNE MASUKU Time of article published Apr 26, 2019

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Durban - The regulatory board for teachers, the SA Council of Educators (Sace) on Thursday launched the National Rights, Responsibilities and Safety Programme in KwaZulu-Natal, hailed by teachers’ unions as the solution to the alarming rate of school violence.

The council is under pressure by the unions to deliver on its mandate to protect teachers.

Unions said the programme - aimed at educating teachers and broader society on the need to ensure that teachers are safe at all times - would allow teachers to express how they should be protected.

They have previously criticised the council, saying it had failed to protect teachers.

The SA Democratic Teachers’ Union said it would closely monitor that the protection of teachers is improved.

Provincial secretary, Bheki Shandu, said the programme was long overdue.

“Teachers have been victims of Sace disciplinary processes for too long and instead of protecting them, Sace was quick to make judgements. We often get reports that cases are not properly investigated,” he said.

The programme was among the resolutions of the Schools Safety Summit hosted by Basic Education Minister Angie Motshekga last year, following a series of violent attacks by pupils on teachers across the country.

Shandu said teachers would have a say in matters involving their rights, responsibilities and safety, for the first time.

Sace admitted that teachers’ rights had been eroded and their dignity trampled on. It said the incidents of violence made teachers feel unsafe at school.

Sace will host roadshows and workshops to create awareness so teachers know their rights and responsibilities.

Thirona Moodley of the National Professional Teachers’ Organisation of South Africa said teachers had suffered for far too long and their rights had been eroded in favour of pupils’ rights.

“It is a norm in certain provinces that MECs will descend on a school if there is the slightest hint of teacher impropriety and even pronounce guilt before any evidence is led. But if a teacher is violated, bullied or even attacked, the response is muted.

“These double standards are chasing thousands of teachers out of the profession. Teacher safety has become a buzz word, but has evoked little attention from authorities. Only once a death is reported do we see the reaction,” she said.

Daily News

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