Violence and crime in public schools: the case of three schools in eTwatwa, Daveyton

Zwane, Duduzile
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In the democratic South Africa, violence and crime have become key social issues in society. It is also unfortunate to note that criminal activity and violent behaviours have trickled down into the school environment. Therefore, violence and crime have become an everyday reality for learners and educators in South African public schools. Hence, the school setting is no longer a safe environment for teaching and learning. The adverse effect of violence and crime in schools is that it poses a great challenge for the educational process to take place. This study has explored the perceptions and experiences of learners, educators and headmasters in three public schools in Etwatwa. The research study was exploratory in nature and took on a qualitative approach and a multiple case study design. Simple random sampling was used to select 24 Grade 10 learners who have been exposed to school violence in the past three years. Focus group discussions were conducted with eight learners from each of the three public schools that participated in the study. The group of learners in each school consisted of four male learners and four female learners, to explore the views and experiences of both sexes. A focus group guide was used to facilitate group discussions with learners during data collection. Purposive sampling was used to identify the three headmasters and three educators to participate in the study. A semistructured interview schedule was used during the individual interviews with educators and headmasters (one educator and one headmaster per school) to collect data. The data was analysed using thematic data analysis. The findings of the study showed the severity and extent of crimes within Etwatwa public schools. Both groups of participants labelled Etwatwa public schools as unsafe environments. Substance abuse was identified as a key issue in relation to the presence of crime and violence within schools. Furthermore, the study has indicated the many challenges educators face in relation to violence and crime within school environments. The study also highlighted the need for school social workers within Etwatwa public schools as a strategy to address and alleviate violent and criminal behaviours in the school setting.
A report submitted inn partial fulfilment of the requirements for an MA degree by Course Work and Research Report in the field of Social Development
Zwane, Duduzile Ntombi Kayise, (2019) Violence and crime in public schools :the case of three public schools in Etwatwa, Daveyton, University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg,