- Theft and vandalism by students skyrocketing
- School security lax, and allows access at any time
- Parents want more action from school management
Education and village authorities have heaped the blame for theft at Ngami Junior Secondary School in Sehitwa on some parents who buy stolen property from thieving students who terrorise their boarding colleagues. Besides stealing from other students willy-nilly and vandalising school property, almost on a daily basis it would appear the school management does nothing to stop the act, with the school premises easily accessible to outsiders.
While the school is said to be known for thieving students, general lack of discipline and vandalism, the levels of the crime of theft are said to have sky rocketed. Parents have raised concerns that their students lose blankets, shoes, toiletries and clothes to theft on a weekly basis which they always have to replace.
Not only do parents have to struggle buying these items again, the theft traumatises the victims, most of them whon are sitting for the JC examinations this month,
The school’s Parent Teachers Association (PTA) Chairman, Tshepho Mohapha told The Ngami Times that the high incidents of theft at the school are perpetuated by some parents who buy the stolen goods from the students.
According to Mohapha some students come from poor backgrounds therefore their parents cannot afford to provide for them in boarding hence they resort to crime. Mohapha noted that they are currently working together with the police in an effort to prevent the incidents.
Kgosi Boikobo Manyoagae of Kgalagadi Ward in Sehithwa also raised a concern about the incidents of theft at the school. He said that in most cases the students steal clothes, food and toiletries from others.
The situation he said is caused by lack of discipline among the students and lack of parental guidance. He is of the view that some of the students are needy therefore they become envy when they see the things they cannot afford and end up stealing.
One of the parents has explained that the situation may affect their children’s mental state as they lose their valuable belongings, taking into consideration that some are about to sit for their Junior Certificate Examinations (JSE). He revealed that recently some of the children sat for the school exams without their uniforms after it was stolen, the situation which he complained makes the students to lose their morale.
North West Regional Chief Education Officer, Kegodile Mahudinga said they are aware of theft cases by some students stealing other student’s toiletry, clothing and blankets. He further indicated that the issue of theft is not only prone to Ngami JSS, but they run across the boarding schools.
He said that the school has reported such cases to the police since they have realised that some parents are perpetrators as they buy those goods from the students.
Mahudinga added that the police officers have offered volunteers to patrol the school, as an augmentation to the school security they already have adding that the school is in a process to maintain students’ lockers so that students can securely store their items. He said that it is their practice that around exam time they forearm students of any mishaps that may occur due to the excitement of completers.
“We believe once they are alarmed, they stand a better chance to avoid such mishaps, noting the disturbance that such cases may cause, the Guidance and Counselling Department conducts counselling classes for completing classes as well as learners who have lost their properties,” he stressed.
Mahudinga said that as a way of preparing the students for the examinations and general welfare they get the support from different stakeholders such as police, hospital personnel, VDC, Kgosi whom they invite to address various thematic issues.
He also stated that the guidance and counselling department conducts counselling classes for learners where they discuss topics including theft, vandalism, final examination preparations and also offers them psychosocial support.
“The school encourages peer to peer counselling, the school recently organised a boot camp programme for the form 3 classes in a way to prepare them for their final exams, during the boot camp, general welfare issues were addressed,” said Mahudinga.
Meanwhile, Sehitwa Police Station commander Nshaki Mabophiwa has said this year they recorded only 2 cases of theft at the school where street lights and a solar panel were stolen and another where netball kits and balls were stolen. This clearly shows that the other myriad cases of students’ stuff are not unreported to the police by school management.