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School governing bodies urged to form safety committees as risks increase

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Concerns about safety at schools arose in Parliament’s Portfolio Committee on Education on Tuesday where Deputy Education Minister Enver Surty suggested that school governing bodies (SGBs) should have safety committees.

“There is also a need for a more personal link between police stations and schools for synergy between the two,” he told the committee.

Surty said the department was concerned about violence at schools, assaults on teachers, a lack of discipline by some pupils, and the discovery of drugs and alcohol at schools.

“We are working closely with the police,” he said.

In the meantime, more than 15 000 schools have been “adopted” by SA Police Service stations as part of the Adopt-a-School programme.

As part of the programme, police form close bonds with schools and talk to pupils about social problems such as drug abuse to reduce crime and violence in schools and in communities.

Surty’s calls come amid a furore over a disagreement between a teacher and pupil at Sans Souci Girls’ High School in Cape Town, and the alleged rape of four primary school boys at a school in the Cape Winelands area.

“Every SGB must have a safety sub-committee,” urged Surty.

Briefing the committee, he said 60 million workbooks had been delivered since the start of the 2019 school year for almost 13 million enrolled pupils and 433 000 teachers.

The biggest problem was placing pupils who did not register on paper or online and who arrived at a school for a place.

He said Gauteng’s use of technology for online applications proved to be highly successful and should be replicated in other provinces.

[source: News24]
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