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PRETORIA-- Following reports of a number of child abductions and violent incidents taking place inside and outside the grounds of schools in South Africa, the Department of Basic Education (DBE) has called for an inter-departmental symposium to address safety in schools.

Schools operate within communities and are often a reflection of the community and the social ills that are found in these communities. We need support from all around us as education," The Minister of Basic Education, Angie Motshekga, said here Monday.

"It brings to mind the old adage, 'It takes a village to raise a child'. This really speaks to our situation in education as we cannot deal with these issues on our own."

She made the call for a symposium following a meeting held by the Council of Education Ministers (CEM), which met last week to discuss a number of topics affecting the education sector.

Just last week, a student reportedly stabbed a 24-year-old teacher to death in North West Province. The teacher, Gadimang Daniel Mokolobate, had only started teaching at the school in April this year. In another incident in Gauteng, a student pointed a gun at a teacher.

It is unfortunate that as a sector responsible for education, we have to deal with these types of incidents, often distracting us from our core business of learning and teaching. However, this is the reality of the areas where our schools are located," the minister said.

We will continue to appeal to our parents to be more involved in the lives of their children and to ensure that they speak to them and warn them about these social ills and the dangers involved. Parents need to ensure that learners do not go to school with guns or weapons. .

The symposium will be held with the South African Police Service (SAPS), the Department of Social Development as well as School Governing Body organizations. As part of a protocol between the SAPS and the DBE, 18,000 schools have been paired with police stations.

However, Motshekga said it was time to ramp up activities between the two entities to ensure greater success.

According to Motshekga, the Western Cape province Department of Education reported to CEM that they have had three confirmed abductions. The children, however, were found and returned to their families. However, another abduction did not have the same happy ending, with one student found dead four days later.

There have also been an additional 16 reports of attempted abductions in the Western Cape.


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