Violence in South African Schools: Perceptions of Communities about a Persistent Problem
AbstractMultiple incidents of violence in South African schools have elevated the issue to being a national concern. The aim of this article is to report on an investigation into the perception of school communities regarding conditions that make violence such a persistent problem in schools. Located within the critical emancipatory research (CER) paradigm, the article emanates from a larger community engagement project, which is a sequel to a study on the dynamics of violence in schools conducted in 2011*. Qualitative data were collected in 2013 through a series of focus group discussions involving 698 participants in two provinces. Preliminary findings reveal that weak leadership, ineffective or dysfunctional governance and management structures, poor parental participation, lack of teacher professionalism and an overall lack of accountability militate against successful implementation of intervention strategies. It is then suggested that mobilising communities, empowering and equipping them with relevant knowledge and skills is likely stimulate appropriate action towards the reduction of violence in schools.
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