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The causes and management of school-based violence in high schools in Umgungundlovu District of KwaZulu-Natal.

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A great deal of research has been conducted globally on the phenomenon of school- based violence and the devastating effect it has on teaching and learning. School-based violence is a multifaceted phenomenon and no single perspective or factor can sufficiently explain why learners behave in the ways they do, at home and at school, that lead to violence. School-based violence is denying South African children their constitutional right to a basic education by creating a school climate that hinders teaching and learning. The obstruction of a learner’s academic learning process as a result of violence could threaten their future prospects and their achievement of a better life in post-apartheid South Africa. It is for these reasons that this study examined the causes and management of school-based violence from a school-based perspective. The study aimed to determine the causes of school-based violence in high schools in uMgungundlovu district of KwaZulu-Natal, and to proffer a management model that would assist high school managers to reduce and manage school-based violence to create a school climate that promotes teaching and learning. The study used Bronfenbrenner’s ecological systems theory to provide rich insights into the causes and solutions to school-based violence in high schools. A qualitative approach and purposive sampling technique were employed in the study. In-depth interviews and focus group interviews were used as data collection instruments for the study. Data was analyzed using thematic analysis and NVivo, a qualitative data analysis software. The study makes two contributions to the existing body of knowledge on school-based violence: the causes of school-based violence at each level of influence of the ecological systems model (microsystem, mesosystem, exosystem and macrosystem) were identified; and insights from these causes were used to develop a school-based violence management model that could assist school managers to reduce and manage school- based violence. The key themes that emerged from the findings include (1) lack of parental involvement in learners’ school issues; (2) learners’ misconduct in school influenced by the abuse of alcohol, drugs and other substances; (3) lack of adequate school security; (4) school managers lacking the required managerial skills to contain issues of school-based violence; e; and (5) female learners as the most significantly affected victims of cyber- violence.


Doctor of Philosophy in Management. University of KwaZulu-Natal, Pietermaritzburg, 2016.