Teachers' unions have said that educators work in fearful conditions due to the violent behaviour of pupils.
In April, A video emerged on social media with learners engaging in a fight and during the altercation, a pupil can be seen jumping on the back of a male teacher. The incident took place at Hoërskool Jan de Klerk in Johannesburg.
In May, a Grade 10 learner was stabbed by a fellow learner during break time and later passed away in hospital. The learner attended a Secondary School in Pimville, Soweto.
These are just two reported incidents which demonstrate the conditions under which teachers operate in South Africa. They are also not trained to deal with violent situations that occur in schools.
CEO of the South African Teachers’ Union, Chris Klopper says the reality is that teachers can only be effective if they get the support from all the other role players in the school itself.
He adds that when there are complaints about learners, the provincial education departments will automatically side with the learners and there are no consequences.
Klopper explained, “Whenever there's a complaint about the learner and that the particular learner has to be expelled, [what happens] is that the school authorities, they side with the learners and the parents and that actually breaks down discipline and the culture of learning and teaching in the school".
He added that the Covid-19 pandemic hasn't helped the situation as the rotational timetable, which saw learners return to schools on a part-time basis, did not help further a culture of discipline in students.
“There has been an increase in the form of ill-discipline in schools. Learners refuse to accept any form of discipline whether it be from parents or schools and it is something that we as a society will have to address,” said Klopper.
He did caution that majority of learners do their utmost to comply with the discipline measures in schools but a new approach must be taken to instil discipline in all learners.