South African Journal of Education

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School violence in Lesotho: the perceptions, experiences and observations of a group of learners

C de Wat


School violence is a subject of great public and media interest that has stimulated
a comprehensive body of research. Academic consideration of the subject
began in the USA and Scandinavia in the mid-1960s and early 1970s but little
evidence could be found of publications on the subject in the small landlocked
Kingdom of Lesotho. To address this hiatus in school violence literature, I report
on an investigation into a group of Lesotho secondary school learners' perceptions,
experiences, and observations of school violence. The research instrument
was an adapted version of a violence and trauma questionnaire for adolescents.
The first important result from this study was to confirm that verbal and physical
abuse amongst learners was prevalent in some schools in Lesotho. Secondly,
qualitative and quantitative data revealed that learners often suffered
verbal and physical humiliation at the hands of their educators. Thirdly, the
data indicated that two major violence risk factors, namely, use of drugs and
weapon carrying, were relatively common amongst educators and learners in
Lesotho. This study also showed that school violence in Lesotho was a manifestation
of gender inequality and violence. Some comments and recommendations
are made.

Keywords: aggression; gender inequality; learners; Lesotho; school violence

South African Journal of Education Vol. 27 (4) 2007: pp. 673-690

AJOL African Journals Online