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Youth Gangsterism–A Serious Threat To The Educational Institutions: The Case of South Africa

Millions of students worldwide are impacted by the severe issue known as school violence, which has gangsterism as one of its primary causes. Gang activity inside and outside the school can severely impact the social ambiance of schools and students' academic achievement. For children or youngsters who attend school, the existence of youth gangs in the community presents significant issues. While the notion of gang activity fosters unease and noncompliance. Fear and disobedience disrupt classroom discipline and negatively affect non-gang pupils' academic achievement. Youth gangs in schools disturb the educational environment, foster a culture of fear among students and teachers, and contribute to the increase in school violence. The increase in bullying, violence, and intimidation incidents in schools is positively correlated with adolescent gang participation. Additionally, researchers found a direct link between gang activity and drug & weapons availability in schools. In schools where youth gangs are prevalent, cases of students possessing weapons and reports from students about the availability of illegal drugs are more common. As a result, schools with active youth gangs had greater rates of violent victimization than schools without gangs. Thus, having gang members in schools instills fear in other students, causing them to experience mental traumas and has a long-lasting effect on their minds and thoughts, which negatively influences students' ability to learn.

Case of South Africa:

As one of the variables that exacerbate school violence is gangsterism, which is of grave concern in many regions of South Africa. The problem is expressed regarding the epidemic of violence in South African schools as daily news concerning high levels of violence, sexual and physical abuse, and gang-related operations in educational institutions can be found in the printed and electronic media. Such school-related circumstances have a gravely detrimental impact on education in schools. According to an EE social study of 244 Western Cape schools, students and teachers experience and see serious wrongdoings and violence in schools across the region, as well as on the route to and from school. Additionally, in South Africa, children who are exposed to violence and gang-related activities have a significantly higher school dropout rate, lower academic performance, and increased absenteeism, all of which will undoubtedly impact their future.

Action needed to be taken:

In order to prevent this practice from escalating and worsening the situation for educational institutions, steps must be taken to ensure the smooth and efficient education of students. Considering the relationship between society and the schools, they should cooperate to ensure that the schools are safe places for education. Additionally, the government should also play its part in ensuring school safety by enabling the installation of security devices, including fences, access control, metal detectors, and alarms.

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