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More than 60 attacks on Cape teachers recorded thus far

History education needs a more explicit focus on historical consciousness if learners are to become capable of dealing with SA’s social problems, says the writer.

History education needs a more explicit focus on historical consciousness if learners are to become capable of dealing with SA’s social problems, says the writer.

Published Sep 17, 2018

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Cape Town - Following two recent attacks on educators nationally, the SA Democratic Teachers' Union (Sadtu) on Sunday expressed serious concern over provincial statistics which reveal over 60 attacks on teachers in the province during the first quarter.

The attacks for the period January to April on educators varies and includes threats, insults, sexual abuse, criminal assault, and robbery.

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Learner on educator figures also reveals that there were 28 assault cases reported which saw learners attacking teachers.

The panic comes less than a week after a Grade 10 learner from Ramotshere Moiloa High School in Zeerust, North West, was arrested for allegedly stabbing to death his teacher, Gadimang Daniel Mokolobate, on Thursday.

The death of the 24-year-old teacher follows shortly after the Gauteng Department of Education (GDE) was left shell-shocked when a learner allegedly drew a firearm a day before, and threatened to shoot a teacher at Eldorado Park Secondary School.

The teacher managed to confiscate the weapon and handed it over to the police for investigation.

Western Cape Sadtu general secretary Jonavin Rustin said attacks on teachers were alarming.

“We are deeply concerned about the increase in violence against teachers at schools.

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“This is a serious problem that could result in teacher absenteeism as well as teachers refusing to teach difficult learners and teachers fearing to come to school,” he said.

Rustin said authorities needed to bring immediate interventions to ensure the safety of teachers at schools.

“We are saying that the Department of Education, together with the police and the community need to step up the security measures at schools.

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“We are discussing the threats experienced and Sadtu's provincial executive committee will look at what action the union is to take in this regard,” Rustin said.

The union called on affected teachers to write to the provincial office so that the issues could be dealt with accordingly.

“We call on teachers that have experienced bullying assaults from learners to write to us so that we can present them to authorities as soon as possible,” Rustin said.

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In 2016, for the same period, 30 attacks on teachers were reported in the province.

Jessica Shelver, spokesperson for the provincial Education MEC Debbie Schaffer said: “The WCED supports the call for a holistic and integrated plan to combat crime and violence, and for the proper resourcing of SAPS in the Western Cape, which is the most under-resourced province in the country.

“All schools are encouraged to develop their school and cluster safety committees in order to ensure a sustainable integrated implementation of safety plans at school level.

“The issues of safety cannot be limited to one or other department but we must take collective responsibility, follow a whole of society approach, for the security and safety in our communities, just as we share responsibility for education with other relevant departments,” she said.

She said the department had effective strategies to address school violence, which includes building relationships between parents, learners and the broader community within which schools are located; and involving the local community in the school programmes.

@TheCapeArgus

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