I AM A SCHOOL FAN – Taking on violence at schools
Johannesburg, 30 AUGUST 2021: Driven by deep concern over the increase in violence at and around schools, The South African Democratic Teachers Union (SADTU) launched the “I Am a School Fan” campaign against violence in schools in 2019. The campaign aims to mobilise all stakeholders including parents, teachers, learners, and government departments to address school-related violence in all its forms. As of 30 August 2021, SADTU will partner with Old Mutual, Brand South Africa and UNICEF to gain more traction and drive awareness throughout South Africa.
Mugwena Maluleka, General Secretary of SADTU explains, “There are many extensions to this campaign. Ultimately, it focuses bettering behaviours and attitudes in students and teachers. The main focal point of the launch in August is to address the prevalence of violence within the schools. This violence exists on multiple levels”.
As a trade union in the education sphere, SADTU has called on corporate partners for financial aid and added media reach and credibility. Thembisa Mapukuta, General Manager: Alternative Distribution for Old Mutual Retail Mass Market, says, “The right to education is enshrined in the South African Constitution and by supporting the I Am a School Fan campaign, Old Mutual recognises this right and upholds it.
“As a responsible business, Old Mutual is stepping forward to ensure that the education sector’s systemic challenges are addressed both holistically and collectively. We collaborated with SADTU on this campaign, with the objective to raise awareness about violence in schools. However, over the long-term we want to ensure that through this partnership we are able to formulate tangible solutions that will eradicate violence in schools and address the issues that could threaten the future of children in South Africa. This, however, will require participation from all stakeholders; government, educators, parents and the community at large.”
I Am a School Fan addresses violence in the immediate school environment and in broader terms:
The immediate school environment (premises and those involved in this environment)
The broader environment
Maluleka adds, “All of these issues are classified as violence in schools. In 2019, we sat for our ninth congress, where members agreed that they want us to fight back against violence and mobilise all sectors of society with a positive message. It needed a name that would also contribute to that positive message, hence the birth of ‘I Am a School Fan’.
“We want to work on what we understand South Africa’s psyche to be. South Africans are sports fanatics and sport has often been a great unifier. We want to harness this and use it as a message that supports education with the same passion that one would support their favourite team”.
The campaign has been categorised to speak to all the stakeholders in the schooling community:
Maluleka concludes, “COVID has made us more mobilised as communities. The launch is well timed as this is time when communities are banding together, following the upheaval of lockdown. We need each other more than ever.
“We need to instil mechanisms where there is recourse. For example, if a teacher administers corporal punishment, it needs to be reported and dealt with. An awareness must also be created of steps to take when these issues arrive. It’s all very well to hear the message, but then what?
“Initially, the main purpose of the campaign is to raise awareness of what each stakeholder should and shouldn’t do. We are communicating the message that, ‘as a stakeholder, you should not do this’ etcetera. And ‘as a stakeholder, you MUST do this’ etcetera. We are embarking on a social media campaign to reach education workers, which will offer support and recourse for everyone, not just SADTU members”.
For more information on SADTU and the I Am a School Fan campaign, visit http://www.sadtu.org.za/.
Issued By: The Lime Envelope
On Behalf Of:SADTU
For Media Information:Tebogo Makola
Telephone:011 467 9233/067 080 8315