The Department of Basic Education will undertake a nationwide school safety and violence prevention drive to raise awareness on the distressing impact of bullying on the school community.
Themed ‘School Safety – Violence, and Bullying Prevention Initiatives’, the multi-sector and inter-departmental campaign aims to mobilise learners, parents, teachers and key stakeholders in promoting a safe learning environment for quality education, and galvanise constructive community involvement in schools to curb incidents of bullying and violence.
“Bullying, which often leads to depression, anxiety, low self-esteem, suicide, low academic performance, absenteeism and school dropout, can have a direct impact on educational outcomes,” the department said in a statement on Thursday.
Basic Education Deputy Minister, Dr Reginah Mhaule — together with the Deputy Ministers of Communication and Digital Technologies, Pinky Kekana; Home Affairs, Njabulo Nzuza; Justice and Constitutional Development, John Jeffrey; Social Development, Hendrietta Bogopane-Zulu, and South African Police, Cassel Mathale — will on Friday commence the anti-bullying roadshow at Tshepana Primary School in Orange Farm, Gauteng.
The department said it has partnered with sister departments, social partners and key stakeholders for the anti-bullying campaign in an effort to curb bullying often involving learners, teachers and sometimes community members.
“The programme entails engagement with school management teams (SMT) and school governing bodies (SGBs) on reporting and taking proactive steps to manage disruptive incidents, as and when they emerge; and a meeting with parents on the importance of playing an active role in school activities, and equipping them with tools for effective monitoring and management of bullying, as well as an engagement with Grade 10 – 12 learners,” the department said.
Government departments and key stakeholders have also met to bring services, including psycho-social support, health screening, career guidance, Identity Documents registration for eligible learners, among others, in an effort to support learners in Orange Farm, as part of the government-wide strategy, ahead of Child Protection Week.
“Two hundred and fifty learners and their parents from neighbouring schools will benefit from the programme, while the SMTs of schools within the vicinity will form part of the programme,” the DBE said.
Child protection, school safety activities
Meanwhile, the Departments of Justice and Constitutional Development and Social Development will take part in activities focused on child protection and school safety.
On 31 May, the Department of Justice and Constitutional Development will lead a webinar on bullying, which will cover topics including legal responses, support services to victims, prevention, why children bully, and protection online.
As part of Child Protection Week, the Department of Social Development, in partnership with the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), will also host a webinar on the role of fathers in raising children.