In response to DA parliamentary questions, the Western Cape Education Department has revealed that a further nine schools in the province will benefit from the deployment of specially-trained School Resource Officers (SROs) from July. Working in some of the most at-risk schools in the province, these officers form a key component of the WCED’s plans to ensure a safe learning environment for all learners in the Western Cape.
Celebrating its 10th anniversary last year, the SRO project has spent the last decade providing officers to schools across the province. SROs work with their schools to find and address the problems that may lead to crime and learning disruptions. This includes patrols not only of the school grounds, but also the creation of safe movement corridors to ensure that learners are able to go to and from school safely. Additionally, they also provide social support to learners, parents, and educators – a vitally important capability in schools that suffer from a shortage of social workers. Given the diversity of their roles, SROs receive training from both City of Cape Town law enforcement, as well as the WCED.
The SRO project is currently in force at 14 schools in the Western Cape. The nine new schools which will benefit from the project from July onwards are:
- Sizimisele High School, Khayelitsha
- Joe Slovo High School, Khayelitsha
- Bulumko High School, Khayelitsha
- Wesbank High School, Wesbank
- Hindle High School, Delft
- Masibambisane High School, Delft
- Dr Nelson Mandela High School, Philippi
- Phakama High School, Philippi
DA Western Cape Spokesperson on Education Deidré Baartman says: “While the PIRLS data released recently showed in clear terms that there is a crisis in South African education, it should be noted that the Western Cape has largely resisted the decline felt in other parts of the country. This comes down to the hard work of the Western Cape Education Department to not only compensate for learning losses under Covid, but also to provide a safe learning environment for all learners. Our children’s safety and security must always be the highest priority for government, and the expansion of the SRO initiative will allow the WCED to uplift the lived experiences of even more learners.”