North West

NAPTOSA NORTH WEST NF 39/2013 - 16 DAYS OF ACTIVISM AND VIOLENCE IN SCHOOLS

The campaign will start on 25 November and run for 16 days. The 16 Days of Activism against Gender and Child-Based Violence Campaign continues the theme of “From Peace in the Home to Peace in the World: Let’s Challenge Militarism and End Violence Against Women and Children!” in 2013. The Center for Women’s Global Leadership has developed materials for the Take Action Kit 2013, which contains resources to help support activities during the 16 Days Campaign. Please visit CWGL website to download the kit or to request a hard copy.

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16 Days of Activism against Gender and Child-based Violence

 

The campaign will start on 25 November and run for 16 days. The 16 Days of Activism against Gender and Child-Based Violence Campaign continues the theme of “From Peace in the Home to Peace in the World: Let’s Challenge Militarism and End Violence Against Women and Children!” in 2013. The Center for Women’s Global Leadership has developed materials for the Take Action Kit 2013, which contains resources to help support activities during the 16 Days Campaign. Please visit CWGL website to download the kit or to request a hard copy.

 

The 16 Days of Activism Against Gender-Based Violence is an international campaign originating from the first Women's Global Leadership Institute coordinated by the Center for Women's Global Leadership in 1991. Participants chose the dates November 25- International Day Against Violence Against Women- and December 10- International Human Rights Day- in order to symbolically link violence against women and human rights and to emphasize that such violence is a violation of human rights. This 16-day period also highlights other significant dates including November 29, International Women Human Rights Defenders Day, December 1, World AIDS Day, and December 6, which marks the Anniversary of the Montreal Massacre. The 16 Days Campaign has been used as an organizing strategy by individuals and groups around the world to call for the elimination of all forms of violence against women by:

·     Raising awareness about gender-based violence as a human rights issue at the local, national, regional and international levels

·     Strengthening local work around violence against women

·     Establishing a clear link between local and international work to end violence against women

·     Providing a forum in which organizers can develop and share new and effective strategies

·       Creating tools to pressure governments to implement promises made to eliminate violence against women.

 

Teachers and schools may wish to use this information to raise awareness among children and parents.  NAPTOSA has supported this campaign over a number of years.  The themes of the campaign are even more relevant today in the light of the reported incidents of violence in schools.  Class projects, school assemblies, parent meetings etc could be vehicles for drawing attention to this scourge.

 

VIOLENCE IN SCHOOLS–  QUESTIONS

What does one say to learners who see adults destroying government property and looting shops during a service delivery protest in Bekkersdal? What does one say to learners whose schools are closed by adults in the community during a service delivery protest in Kuruman?  What does one say to teachers who are humiliated by learners in the class?  How does one respond to a principal of a primary school in Cape Town when he writes:

. . . our work environment resembles a war-zone where learners cannot learn and play in safety and the wider community are hostages in their own homes. . .  We cannot have fundraisers, meetings or workshops in the evenings or over week-ends due to the instability and insecurity.  The above challenges become bizarre in the light of the on-going gang related violence and deaths.

Last week learners witnessed a man being shot through the ankle  . . .Parents running to the school wide eyed and anxiously praying that their children are not harmed.  Bambanani having to fall to the ground and seek cover underneath the cars in the car park . . . “

 

NAPTOSA recognises that the situation described above is an extreme example of violence and that the levels of violence varies from school to school owing to a number of factors.

 

Who is to blame?  At one stage it was popular for the media and others to blame schools for not preventing the violence, however, it would appear that a more realistic approach prevails presently - society has realised that the scourge of violence takes many forms and teachers are not equipped to handle all these situations. It is also important to note that teachers are also victims of violence.

 

NAPTOSA believes that the critical question that should be asked is: “What can we do to stop or at least curb the violence? The “we” is all of us – the DBE, Provincial Education Departments, and other government departments, SAPS, SGBs, NGO, faith-based organisations, parents, schools and unions. NAPTOSA has stated on a number of occasions that all stakeholders need to be involved in addressing the scourge of violence in our schools – dealing with violence in schools, in whatever form it manifests itself, is not the sole responsibility of teachers.

 

NAPTOSA is of the view that there are many  issues which the DBE should address as a matter of urgency, inter alia: provincial education departments should appoint more counsellors and psychologists, the code of conduct for learners as well as suspension procedures in SASA should be revisited, the suspension and expulsion of learners should be expedited,  teachers in identified schools should receive danger pay, teachers should be provided with training on managing various forms of violence, the DBE should provide more support for educators who are the victims of violence including free legal assistance.

 

NAPTOSA has for many years run workshops on discipline for beginner and experienced teachers. The Union will continue to offer this service to its members and adapt the workshops according to the changing situation on the ground. NAPTOSA welcomes the fact that the MEC for Education in Gauteng is taking strong action against unruly learners. It is hoped that other MECs will follow suit. NAPTOSA North West has confidence that honourable MEC of Education in the North West, Mme Wendy Matsemela will do something tangible before anything serious happens in her department.

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