Education activist Hendrick Makaneta has commended the Gauteng education authorities for taking the decision to suspend learners at Leondale Secondary School in Ekurhuleni following a video clip that showed learners who were seen smoking and seemed to be very high.
“We cannot tolerate these high levels of ill-discipline amongst learners which have become a regular occurrence in our schools. Government must tighten its hand to ensure that we mould learners who will become responsible citizens. It cannot be correct to allow learners to smoke in our schools. Smoking or drinking by learners undermines the integrity of our educational institutions,” said Makaneta.
He called on the government to implement harsh punishment for learners who cause anarchy at schools.
“If parents cannot install proper discipline amongst their children, the government must go to the extent of suspending such children for a reasonable period of two years in order to send a strong message that smoking on school premises is highly prohibited. Those children have brought the school into disrepute, and any failure to deal with them decisively will nourish the culture of ill-discipline and render our schools ungovernable. If learners want to smoke or drink, they must go to a tavern, not a school.
“We are fast becoming a banana republic by allowing such occurrences in our schools. Learners need to know that, in as much as they have rights, these rights come with responsibilities. More rights mean more responsibilities. It is unfortunate that the learners chose to define themselves outside the legal framework of the terrain of education. Now is the time that they face the music. We are sick and tired of ill-discipline within our institutions,” said Makaneta.
Furthermore, he said some would say two years is too drastic, but the reality is that if you suspend the learner for three weeks, that is nothing.
“Other learners will simply commit the same offence with an understanding that they will go home and stay for three weeks. It will be another school recess in addition to others. We really need to be tough if we are to create a conducive environment for learning and teaching. There must be no turning back.”