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Criminality at schools, pupil dropouts and help for poor areas: Ramaphosa at Sadtu meeting

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President Cyril Ramaphosa says incidents of violence, abuse and bullying in schools are a grave concern.

“The fact that teachers can be attacked in class in schools and some of them stabbed or killed, is something we have never heard of,” Ramaphosa said as the country prepared to celebrate World Teachers Day on Wednesday.

Speaking in his capacity as ANC president on Tuesday afternoon, Ramaphosa told a SA Democratic Teachers’ Union (Sadtu) national general council meeting in Kempton Park that more needed to be done to fight the scourge and keep schools safe.

“We are concerned about the apparent increase in incidents of violence against teachers and pupils, often perpetrated by criminals who find their way into schools and harass and abuse pupils and teachers.”

Schools, he said, should be no-go areas for criminals.

“Our schools must be safe havens for our children. This means school governing bodies, community policing forums, communities as a whole, local businesses, unions and the police need to work together to ensure every single school is a place where teachers and pupils feel secure and safe.”

Ramaphosa called on the private sector to work with government by investing in upgrading, modernisation and expanding school infrastructure to benefit all pupils, particularly in underserved areas.

“The situation in many schools across our country is most worrying after the neglect of schools by the apartheid regime. I have been told to improve, upgrade and modernise a number of schools in a province like Limpopo could take up to 70 years.”

This is too long, he said, adding this is why government was working on financial instruments and proposals to enable the improvement of schools now.

He said teachers and leaders cannot wait 75 years for a school to be built or refurbished with a hall, staff room, laboratory, library or ablution facility.

More needs to be done to improve reading and ensure pupils do not drop out.

“Every year we know close to 1-million children register in schools for 12 years of education but at the end of that year period, we often find fewer than 50% of those children write matric.

“I have often asked myself where the 550,000 or so young people go to. They disappear into the ether because only 450,000 write the final exam after 12 years. You know where we find the others. We find them lining up to receive the R350 social relief of distress grant.”

The president said everyone has a responsibility to ensure children stay in school.

“We need to reduce that school dropout phenomenon because when they drop out they end up in the unemployment ranks.”

Source: TimesLIVE


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