'SA schools most dangerous in the world'

South African schools were the most dangerous in the world with only 23
percent of pupils saying they felt safe at school, the SA Institute of
Race Relations (SAIRR) said on Tuesday.

Spokesperson for the Institute, Thomas Blaser, said a Progress in
International Reading Literacy study had ranked SA last in terms of
school safety.

"In that study South African school pupils were asked whether they felt
safe when they were at school and if they had experienced incidents of
stealing, bullying, and injury to themselves or to others in their class
within the last four weeks.

"Only 23 percent of South African pupils said they felt safe at school.
On average South Africa's schools ranked more than 20 percentage points
below the world-wide average of 47 percent of pupils saying they felt a
high degree of safety in the classroom," said Blaser.

Schools in Norway, Denmark, and Sweden were the safest in the world with
approximately 70 percent of pupils saying they felt safe at school.

Blaser said: "The findings of the study suggested that media reports of
school violence were not merely isolated incidents but part of a growing
pattern of violence and disorder."

According to the department of education's own data, published in the
SAIRR report, 24 percent of schools had no burglar bars, 35 percent had
no security gates, and 80 percent had no alarm systems.

"Conditions in many schools are not only far from ideal but in many
cases downright dangerous. The problem deserves urgent attention in
parliament and needs a national safety plan that will return proper law
and order to the school ground," said Blaser.

"Failing this it is difficult to see how schools will produce the skills
necessary to drive the South African economy."

The SAIRR called for urgent government intervention to halt a "growing
pattern of violence and disorder" in SA schools, said Blaser. - Sapa


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