Exploring educators’ experiences on school-based violence in peri-urban high schools, Umlazi Durban, South Africa.
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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. Most studies focus on how violence in South African schools affect learners and hardly document educator’s experience of school-based violence. The South African Council of Educators (2011), emphasized the need for policy actors and stakeholders to consider the effect of school-based violence on educators as the menace is not limited to leaners. Recognising this vacuum, this study set out to investigate the influence of School Based Violence on educators in peri urban Umlazi, Durban South Africa. The study adopted a qualitative methodology to effectively unravel and examine educators’ narratives of school-based violence. The population for this study were educators from Ogwinni, Ndukwenhle and Swelihle High Schools in Umlazi. Fifteen (15) educators were selected equally (5 each) from the three high schools to participate in the study. The findings from the in-depth interviews was analysed using thematic content analysis. This followed a process of content study that allowed the researcher develop themes that provided a descriptive and critical analysis of educators’ narratives of school-based violence. Findings from this study reveals that school-based violence poses danger to educators and leaners. The menace is potentially damaging to the social, psychological and physical wellbeing of all stakeholders within the learning environment. Violence in schools contributes to low educational achievement among learners due to depression, fear and lack of concentration in class and as such it becomes very difficult for educators to carry out their duties. The most common forms of school-based violence included: bullying, vandalism, gangsterism, sexual harassment, discrimination, assaults, fights and drug abuse. It also became evident that many learners in this area exhibit behavioral problems that are prevalent within the socio-economic conditions of the community in which they live in. Consequently, the study advances the need for capacity developmental programmes for educators to manage situations that could escalate into violence within learning spaces. It recommends that the management of these schools must recognise the importance of enforcing the school code of conduct with consistent disciplinary measures. Parent must also acknowledge that discipline and ensuring conformity among leaners is not solely the responsibility of educators as such there is a need for a combined effort between educators and parents in curbing the menace school-based violence in South Africa.