Newspaper clipping – The Daily News – 6 July 2010

Code of conduct to crack down on bullying

Bullying in South African schools has prompted the national Basic Education Department to draw up a code of conduct that would be compulsory for pupils to sign to show their commitment to school rules.

Basic Education Minister Angie Motshekga said recently that the code would help to curb incidences of bullying in schools.

The department had developed a model code of conduct for pupils that would guide school governing bodies, principals and teachers to draw up their own context-specific codes, she said in response to a question posed by the DA.

Although it was not yet clear when the code would be rolled out, it would seek to tackle inappropriate behaviour among pupils and it outlines the disciplinary system to be implemented by schools with regard to transgressions by pupils. It applies to pupils on the school premises as well as when they are away from the school representing it.

A pupils’ survey has also been carried out to help identify incidences of bullying, its impact and strategies on how to cope with it. The survey will also provide the authorities with an indication of the prevalence of bullying at a school.

The code of conduct has been distributed to all provincial education departments for further distribution and implementation in schools. It includes a list of offences that pupils should not commit and has graded these according to degree and intensity. The list is coupled with corresponding corrective sanctions.

In KwaZulu-Natal, teachers’ unions have welcomed the code of conduct but say it may be a challenge to implement in schools.

Anthony Pierce, the provincial CEO of the National Professional Teachers Organisation of South Africa, said codes of conduct were necessary when it came to the discipline of pupils.
“Over the last six to eight years, there has been a noticeable increase of bullying in schools,” he said.
“The code of conduct does have the potential of decreasing the bullying of pupils.”

However the National Teachers Union said it was not so sure.
“The union is not certain if the code of conduct would serve the purpose of decreasing bullying in schools,” said its deputy president, Allen Thompson.
He said the union was, however, still studying the new measure – By Silinde Maluleka.