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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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As someone who has been exposed to the British schooling system, I completely agree with you on how gangsterism is so dangerously prevalent there. Schools are in fact considered a prime location for gang activity, considering how a mass gathering of young-adults allow for better recruitment opportunities and gang negotiations, even drug-dealing.

I do believe that increasing school surveillance should only be a secondary means of intervention and that the primary intervention should be tackling the problem of gangsterism in the first place. This goes way too deeper anyway, considering in this perspective, state involvement takes on a lot of responsibilities, such as ensuring gang activity is reduced through preventive but also structural levels. Instead of surveillance options, prevalence of…

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You have highlighted a very concerning issue, which in my opinion is prevalent across many schools all over the world. Gangsterism is quite pervasive in the Pakistan context and it provides boys with an avenue to portray their masculine characteristics. I am sure most of us have encountered a group of boys in our tuition centres or even schools disrupting teaching by bullying people who they see as easy targets. What is most unbelievable is the extents they go and how there have even been instances of them misbehaving with teachers as well. The most unimaginable thing in Pakistan that I have witnessed is how even if the schools call their parents, the children are not reprimanded, in turn the…

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En réponse à

Thank you for taking the time to engage with the post, Zoya. I completely agree that these boys also interrupt female instructors, not just in the context of a class or school setting but also outside of school. In my fifth grade, a boy in my class and his gang used to harass my teacher. My teacher used to teach at our school during the first time, but she used to go to teach in the evening school on the way to that boy's house. The boy began to hang out with his gang during her school time, and they used to mock her walking style and harass her. The action was taken against him by the school administration, but you are absolutely right that…


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Gangsterism is also a problem in the context of Pakistan as well. Punjab University is one of the hot place having many examples of this issue. Youth violence is thought to be the only way to command status, respect and social and personal requirements like money and knowledge. Violence is also a power. Some youth consider it the only alternative to power. When there is a limited range of alternatives, no observance of social norms, lack of discipline, poor supervision of behaviors violent behavior is found becoming rationale.

The first most important recommendation of the study was to strengthen the family system in Pakistan.

The first step which is necessary to strengthening the family system is to educate the parents…


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Thank you, Umar, for talking about Punjab university because I didn't have much idea about it but will definitely search about it. And it's true that violence is thought to be a way to command power, instill fear in people and fulfill personal requirements like money. While you have presented a very realistic solution that parents should ensure that they don't fall into gang-related people's company, schools and teachers should look into it, but they can't do much due to less school hours and teachers have so many students under their supervision, so it becomes difficult for them to pay attention towards every student individually on daily basis. But with the collective efforts of the community, parents, and teachers, this…

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Thank you for raising concern over this incredibly pressing issue. However, I'd like to raise light to a different perspective to this issue of youth gangerism. The practices in South Africa are not at all reflective of the promises made by the democratic government. In instances like these, these gangs provide support structures, a network of relationships and an understanding of identity. For me, the most concerning aspect of this angle is that for a country like South Africa, a number of people are vulnerable to youth gangerism, since they continue to juggle between unfulfilled promises by the state and extreme poverty.

These gangs provide its members an outlet to gain control of their community. I believe that the state,…

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I also agree with you that youth people are social actors who can contribute to society, and yes, chances should be given to them to contribute to society but do you really think that getting them out of this dig of gangsterism is so easy? in my opinion, it is not. I have personally witnessed such cases where people get indulged in such digs, and it becomes so much difficult for parents to get them out of this no matter how much facilitation they provide them, no matter how much parents make them understand that they are parents' supporters. So, I think it can't only be solved by giving them chances to contribute to society. Education is such a valuabl…

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juvenile Delinquency is rather a widespread phenomenon at this point. If we look around in our context we often hear O/A levels students throwing phrases like 'phadda karna hai' or something along the lines which I heard a lot in my school years was 'campus ke bahar mil'. The idea is that the causes of such behaviour may differ depending on the religious, regional, social and political contexts of the kids but the issue seems more of a psychological response to a trauma in my opinion. My question here is that do you really thing creating a further regressive environment in terms of installing security devices, alarms, metal detectives be more fruitful in this case or a different rather more…

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Thank you, Insha for engaging with the post. I want to ask are you referring to aggressive environment while talking about security devices and metal detectors? I couldn't understand it. If you are referring to aggressive environment then your answer is here. While researching this topic, I found out that most of the gang members come from underprivileged areas and impoverished households, which may clarify why they join gangs that might be financially advantageous to them. So, I agree with you such approaches should be taken to address their needs. Government should provide funds to the impoverished so that, at the very least, their poverty prevents them from engaging in such actions. Moreover, yes therapy-based approaches and counseling sessions should…

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