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Title: Reducing school violence : a peace education project amongst stakeholders in Umlazi
Authors: Ngidi, Lucia Zithobile 
Issue Date: 1-Sep-2018
Violence occurring within South African schools is a concern for all stakeholders. Violence takes various forms including bullying, theft of property, robberies and vandalism, sexual violence, harassment and rape, gang related violence, violence related to drugs and alcohol abuse, physical violence, shooting, stabbing and murder, violence through student protest and racially motivated violence. Every form of violence has devastating effects on the school system such as physical and psychological effects, educational damage and societal breakdown. The aim of this study was to explore school violence in the South African high school context, review existing strategies that seek to minimise it and thereafter devise and incorporate more effective strategies to prevent this scourge from increasing. There are numerous services currently in place to support abused victims and perpetrators, including, school level support plans and specialised support services, however, the problem persists.

The study was built on the foundation of three related theories; firstly, the social learning theory, which states that the behaviour of an individual is learned from their surrounding environment through the process of observational learning; secondly, the restorative justice theory, which supports the use of healing approaches instead of punitive measures; and lastly, the Cure Violence model, which includes visualising and treating violence as if it were an infectious disease that spreads from one person to another. For the purpose of the study, a qualitative research approach was chosen to employ a case study research design. Institutions involved in the study were two secondary schools in the Umlazi district, Durban. Semi-structured interviews, open-ended questionnaires and focus groups discussions were used in a triangulation approach to enhance validity and reliability. I also wrote field notes while doing interviews and conducting focus group discussions to document participants’ responses and other observations which transpired in the process. Action research, premised on the Cure Violence model, utilising the information obtained from data collection was planned, implemented and evaluated in one school. Specialised groups – the We Care (WC) group and the School Peer Educators (SPEs) were trained and empowered to be agents of peace in this context.

Participants’ responses on what they thought were the causes of violence were grouped into the following themes: environmental factors; resistance to parents; lack of awareness; influence of poverty; peer influence; love relationships; culture and religion. The WC and SPE groups were imparted with invaluable knowledge during this study, knowledge which is intended for use in years to come in the school and in the surrounding communities. The WC group reported to be very functional in dealing with cases involving parents when I returned for follow-up visits and reflection.
Submitted in fulfillment of the requirements of the Degree of Doctor of Philosophy: Public Administration: Peace Studies, Durban University of Technology, Durban, South Africa, 2018.
Appears in Collections:Theses and dissertations (Management Sciences)

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