15/06/2017 07:40 SAST | Updated 15/06/2017 08:16 SAST

SA Educators Feel At Risk From Their Own Students - Survey

Twenty percent of SA teachers think their schools are violent places, a new survey says.

Mike Hutchings / Reuters
A masked student at the University of the Western Cape flees as police open fire with rubber bullets and teargas during protests demanding free tertiary education in Cape Town, South Africa, October 19, 2016. REUTERS/Mike Hutchings

Twenty percent of teachers in South African schools think their schools are violent places where the learners and their colleagues are armed, The Times reported on Thursday.

A survey reportedly conducted by the Human Sciences Research Council with the Department of Education released the findings this week, and surveyed 20,000 teachers at 1,380 schools across the country.

According to The Times, about 17 percent of teacher reported fights involving weapons at school, and 13% think there are gangs operating at their school.

The executive director of the National Professional Teachers' Organisation of SA told The Times that a principal in Lavender Hill in the Western Cape was recently stabbed by a parent, who later returned to school to "finish him off".

The South African Democratic Teachers Union told The Times that teachers felt unsafe at school.

"The young ones in particular, violence is why they resign, not only the low salary," said spokesperson Mugwena Maluleke.

A spokesperson for the department of education told The Times that the department was "extremely concerned" about violence in schools.

Spokesperson Elijah Mhlanga said, "It's even more worrying when the violence is against teachers whose job is to impart information to learners. It becomes difficult when they have to teach while thinking about defending themselves. Some of the learners use weapons and as a Department we can't tolerate it."