Impact of school violence on learner participation in South African Secondary Schools:

A Qualitative Study


  • Rudzani Israel Lumadi University of South Africa, South Africa



bulying, indiscipline, social justice, academic performance, school violence


School violence plays a significant role in shaping a school’s culture and climate, which can have an impact on the participation and performance of learners in secondary education. In many instances, school violence can hinder the educational aspirations of learners. This paper investigates the impact of school violence on learners through the lenses of social justice theory and an interpretive paradigm. The sample of this qualitative research included three secondary schools in the Vhembe District in the Limpopo Province, South Africa, and are from advantaged and disadvantaged communities, representing a varied sample. Data collection included semi-structured interviews with 27 purposively selected teachers, including three principals, three heads of department, and 21 teachers. Data were analysed and interpreted using the constant comparative method of data analysis. The findings revealed corporal punishment, bullying, and sexual harassment as the major forms of violence perpetrated at the three schools. These are the direct result of the low socioeconomic status of parents, crime in the communities, and cultural and traditional beliefs of the community members. The study found that teachers spend most of their time solving challenges associated with various forms of school violence instead of focusing on teaching and learning. School violence also affects learners’ concentration, thus increasing poor academic performance, classroom chaos, bunking of classes and depression. The study suggests that the victims of any form of school violence are encouraged to report the perpetrators to the school teachers and principals immediately. In addition, the school must conduct awareness seminars and workshops on various forms of school violence. If not monitored, these causes and effects may contribute to the widening gap of unequal educational outcomes of learners in the country.


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How to Cite

Lumadi, R. I. (2024). Impact of school violence on learner participation in South African Secondary Schools: : A Qualitative Study. Perspectives in Education, 42(1), 39–52.



March 2024 Violence in South African schools Special Edition March 2024