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Violence against teachers: an investigation of teachers’ experiences of school-based violence in the Umzinyathi District, KwaZulu-Natal.

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Protecting learners from harm as well as promoting a safe and caring environment for learners are imbedded in teachers’ core duty of providing learners with an enabling teaching and learning environment (Segalo & Rambuda, 2018). However, with teachers experiencing violence at the hands of learners, the teachers’ duty to care for learners and create safe learning spaces has been significantly compromised. This study sought to investigate the teachers’ experiences of school-based violence of selected teachers in the Umzinyathi District, province of KwaZulu-Natal. A qualitative, narrative research approach, located within the critical paradigm, was used to address the aim and objectives of the study. The data to respond to the key research questions of the study was generated through conflict mapping and focus group interviews with the selected teachers. The participants of the study were five (two male and three female) teachers from two rural secondary schools, who were selected through purposive sampling. The data generated were analysed using thematic analysis. The study found that school-based violence perpetrated by learners against teachers was the most common form of violence, with institutional, interpersonal, and structural factors contributing to its prevalence. It also revealed that the experiences of violence make teachers feel unsafe and negatively affect their relationships with learners. The findings pointed to the fact that the development of safe schools was a collective responsibility, requiring the involvement of a range of stakeholders. The findings of the study point to the fact that school-based violence against teachers is cancer to the education system. Thus, the perpetration of school-based violence against teachers by learners will see the demise of the South African education system if left unchecked. There is, therefore, an urgent need to address school-based violence and redirect the path of young people to that which will empower them to contribute to a socially just and peaceful society.


Masters Degree. University of KwaZulu-Natal, Pietermaritzburg.