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Parliament’s education committee to probe school bullying

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The portfolio committee on basic education in South Africa’s Parliament will be discussing bullying as part of it’s oversight mission

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THE PORTFOLIO committee on basic education in South Africa’s Parliament will this week begin an oversight mission to the government department overseeing the sector to discuss challenges including school bullying and infrastructure shortcomings.

In a statement on Monday, the committee said the week-long oversight tour beginning on Tuesday was aimed at finding lasting solutions to the challenges as well as ensuring accountability from the Department of Basic Education (DBE).

“Among the issues to be discussed during the oversight visit include the perennial infrastructure challenges facing the sector, the unacceptable increase in incidents of bullying in the basic education sector, school governing body elections as well as an update on the status of the Basic Education Laws Amendment Bill,” it said.

The visit comes about a fortnight after a 14-year-old student at Mbilwi Secondary School in Limpopo province was arrested for allegedly assaulting fellow learner Lufuno Mavhunga, who later committed suicide.

“Schools are meant to be safe environments conducive for learning and teaching. What we have witnessed in the recent past is worrying and requires urgent action from all stakeholders within the sector,” chairwoman of parliament’s basic education committee Bongiwe Mbinqo-Gigaba said.

The committee would engage the DBE on the implementation of the sector’s anti-bullying policy, she added.

The committee has previously highlighted the need for a concerted and collaborative effort to find resolve the lack of adequate infrastructure at many South African schools.

“In line with this, we decided to hold a school infrastructure roundtable, which will include DBE, provincial departments of education, and chairpersons of education committees in provincial legislatures. We have to work together to find practical solutions to this challenge,” said Mbinqo-Gigaba.