Parents must take responsibility: iLIVE

09 November 2012 - 02:05 By Lee Loynes, CEO of Girls and Boys Town
Basic Education Minister Angie Motshekga. File photo
Basic Education Minister Angie Motshekga. File photo

It is with relief that we read about Basic Education Minister Angie Motshekga telling parents in the Northern Cape that pupils' behaviour is their responsibility and that of the community ("Angie slams parents", yesterday).

This is the opposite of what two researchers at Unisa said at the end of October, namely that schools are mainly to blame for problems like violence among pupils.

Teachers and pupils are part of a community, but that community is bigger than just an isolated facility of education. The responsibility of the school-based educational team is to maintain a well-run school but that is dependent on a similar level of responsibility taken by the broader community and society in general. It is unreasonable and unfair to expect one part of a system (a school) to be entirely responsible for broad-based societal problems.

Schools do have the responsibility to manage and educate well, but they also need the support of their structures to deliver books and materials, and subsidise them effectively.

Schools have a role to play in socialising youngsters, but so do parents.

Schools do need to provide safe, caring and educationally stimulating environments, but so do the police and other systems in the community.

Obviously there are problems within many schools and with many educators, too, but drugs come into schools (they are not made from within); girls don't fall pregnant in schools but outside in the wider community; many politicians' values and conduct reflect corruption and dishonesty; violent and bullying children emerge from families and communities (not from within schools).

Work we have been doing for more than half a century for children, teachers and, often, families, has taught us this.

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