School-based violence : are strategies of preventing school-based violence effective in Umlazi high schools?
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Literature suggest that high levels of school-based violence are possibly a reflection of social disintegration which has negative consequences to both learners and teachers. According to the latest National School Violence Survey (NSVS) it is reported that 22 percent South African high school learners have been victims of violence within school boundaries (Burton and Leoschut, 2013). The survey indicates that 6.3 percent of South African learners have been assaulted at school. Physical violence being the highest reported concrete type of school-based violence in South African schools. It is significant to consider teachers’ perceptions towards the management of school-based violence. A quantitative methodology, characterized by a positivistic approach form the basis for this study. The study seeks to statistically describe teachers’ experiences and perceptions towards violence in schools. Data collection was done through a self-administered survey. This dissertation provides quantitative descriptive analysis of teachers’ experiences and perceptions towards learner-on-learner physical violence in twelve high schools in Umlazi township. The study investigates teachers’ perceptions regarding the nature and extent of school-based violence, and the causes of learner-on-learner physical assault in twelve high schools in Umlazi Township. The most prevalent form of learner-on-learner victimisation was bullying. The study found that the most reported causes to the prevalence of learner-on-learner violence in this study were the banning of corporal punishment, the overcrowding in classes, the high levels of unemployment in the community, and the lack of sufficient recreational activities The study also provides a qualitative account of teachers’ perceptions towards ways to manage learner-on-learner physical violence in Umlazi high schools. By making use of thematic analysis, respondents indicated a multi-factorial approach to deal with violence at schools. The need for capacity and developmental programmes for learners and the importance of enforcing the school code of conduct with consistent disciplinary measures indicated as most salient themes to manage violence between learners. By understanding the educational personnel perceptions and experiences about learner-on-learner physical violence at schools, intervention strategies can be developed to promote effective management of school-based violence in conflicted schools, thereby contributing to the maintenance of school safety.
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