Vol. 42 No. 1 (2024): Violence in South African schools March 2024


Annually, Perspectives in Education (PiE) publishes one special edition on a topic identified by the Editorial Board. This year the Board has decided to invite contributions from authors on the theme Violence in South African Schools.

The home and the school are the two environments where children can justifiably expect to not be exposed to violent actions and threats to their bodily and psychological safety. Ones psycho-physical integrity can be regarded as a person’s most valuable “possession” and as such, feeling safe in the environment in which s/he is educated, is essential if young people were to make the most of learning opportunities. Without that, children fail to learn what is necessary to survive in their environment. They also fail to acquire the skills, knowledge, values and attitudes that will enable them to become adults able to support themselves and make a positive contribution to the world in which they live.

Some forms of violence in educational environments are ubiquitous but the South African population is exposed to a disproportionately high incidence of various types of violence. It affects all people, irrespective of age, gender, race, religion, residence and level of wealth. Naturally, children are among the most vulnerable of these populations. The incidences of school violence have, in recent times, shown a noticeable increase. This presents all involved with education; from learners to teachers; to parents and politicians and academics to administrators, with enormous challenges.

School violence has many faces including damage to possessions and personal assault on and off school premises - child-on-teacher attacks; teachers violently or sexually assaulting learners and learner-assaulting each other; race-based incidents; community members assaulting teachers and learners; murders; vandalism; gangsterism and; destruction of infrastructure.

This phenomenon raises many questions that beg for research-based answers. How should school violence be managed? What is the legal perspective on school violence? What research evidence is available on the topic? What causes the excessive incidence of school violence?

This special issue of Perspectives in Education offers scholars a forum for participation in the debate on the occurrence and impact of school violence in South African schools.

Guest editor: Prof Johan Beckmann, University of the Free State

Published: 2024-03-29


March 2024 Violence in South African schools Special Edition March 2024