In observing World Teachers' Day the IFP believes that more needs to be done to address the issue of malicious allegations being made by pupils against teachers and to protect them from violence in schools.
There has been an increase in violence at our schools. Moreover, quality teaching depends on teachers enjoying basic rights, such as protection from violence. We must insist that schools remain a protective space for children and teachers.
We must remember that teachers are an investment for the future. The international community and governments must stand united to support and protect teachers for quality education worldwide.
Furthermore, we are of the opinion that there is a need for government to review its procedures for dealing with allegations against teachers in the light of concerns about the incidence of malicious claims being made by pupils.
We are clear that allegations made against a teacher must be taken seriously and investigated. However, our concerns continue about the failure of those in authority to distinguish false and malicious allegations at an early stage in the process and before the careers and family lives of accused teachers are destroyed.
Even if the teacher is eventually exonerated, their career may be permanently blighted by the fact that the allegation remains on record.
Increasingly teachers are being subject to allegations by parents on social media, often before the parent has raised any concerns with the school.
We will not shy away from the fact that robust child protection procedures must be maintained but there must be severe legal consequences for those who make demonstrably false and malicious allegations.
The IFP further demands that working conditions for teachers must be improved as others are facing the challenge of overcrowding in schools and lack of learning materials. Dilapidated schools’ infrastructure must be addressed.
Mrs Thembeni Madlopha-Mthethwa MPL
IFP KZN Provincial Spokesperson on Education
079 114 3015