The Western Cape education MEC Debbie Schafer has called on all schools in the province to review their codes of conduct to ensure they are in line with the country’s constitution and representative of the school community.
This, after discriminatory practices at schools around the country caused a public outcry, with black girl pupils saying they were singled out because of their hair, and other students claiming they were taken to task for speaking their home language on school premises.
The MEC said on Thursday that her department had issued a circular calling for the review of the code of conduct at all schools in the province.
“Last week, I called on all schools in the Western Cape to review their codes of conduct to ensure that they are in line with the values of the constitution and representative of the school community,” said Schafer.
The department of education confirmed that the circular was issued on Thursday. Schafer explained that the events that had taken place at schools in Gauteng and the Western Cape in recent weeks had highlighted the importance of school codes of conduct that reflected the values of the constitution.
“The circular serves to remind schools to review codes of conduct periodically to ensure they achieve their purpose in line with the constitution while taking into account ongoing discussions on what codes of conduct should require,” said Schafer.
The circular intended to ensure schools were aware of the following:
— When drafting a code of conduct, all stakeholders of the school, namely parents, teachers and learners (including the Representative Council of Learners) must be involved, and that the process must be participatory, open and transparent.
— If there are disagreements or uncertainties regarding the content of the code of conduct, it is important that this be discussed and ironed out among stakeholders before the code is formally adopted.
Schafer said the Western Cape education department (WCED) had also provided schools with the department of basic education (DBE) booklet, which is aimed at assisting governing bodies in developing or reviewing the code of conduct of the school.
“We have asked schools to suggest amendments to the DBE’s guideline, as the WCED continues to improve its approach to drafting codes of conduct. I believe that this process can be conducted in a transparent and participatory way, without disruption to teaching, learning time, or violence,” said Schafer.
“It is important that all schools ensure that their codes of conduct represent the inclusive society in which we live. However, it is important that there is a healthy balance between school discipline and behaviour and individual rights,” added Schafer.
– African News Agency (ANA)