Veiligheid in Meganiese Tegnologie-werkswinkels in openbare skole: 'n Onderwysregtelike perspektief
There is an urgent need in South Africa for people with technical and mechanical skills. In order to meet this need, technical subjects are promoted in public schools. At the same time, teachers find themselves in an ever-increasing litigation-conscious society. Legal liability for damage caused during activities in school workshops can become a more common phenomenon that will compel technology teachers to pay more attention to the management of safety and security. A key aspect of schools is the safety of all learners. Workshop areas, where learner-safety —Geborgenheit— is created, ensures that effective teaching and learning can be enhanced. The Mechanical Technology teacher is liable for the safety of learners during their participation in activities. An effective safety policy to limit learners being injured and at risk must be developed for school workshops. A security policy is the primary tool to reduce and prevent injuries, and ensure that the Department, teacher or school are not held liable for damage. Technology teachers must consider particular safety management elements that determine their duty of care towards learners. Technology teachers must have adequate Education Law knowledge in order to appropriately exercise their duty of care. Security strategies and associated safety management were critically investigated in South African Mechanical Technology workshops. This research ascertained specific statutory, common law and jurisprudence determinants, as well as the role that these determinants —or its neglect —play in ensuring learner safety at schools. A literature study on safety management in Mechanical Technology workshops, based on common law and jurisprudence determinants, determined the teacher's responsibilities and duties. It appears that no recent and applicable safety policies for Mechanical Technology workshops are readily available, and those that are available to ensure safety of school workshops, teachers and learners, are inadequate. The empirical investigation involved a mixed research method where Mechanical Technology teachers quantitatively and qualitatively determined the current state of the management of security in workshops. The data were analytically-narratively analysed and discussed — triangulation —and findings and recommendations were made. In view of the findings, legislative amendments are recommended for sections 5A and 61 of the South African Schools Act (84 of 1996) to provide for school workshops and for the addition of laboratories, and that safety and health matters should be included to cover such sites, machinery and equipment. The Occupational Health and Safety Act (85 of 1993) is deemed to apply mutatis mutandisto schools, workshops, laboratories and school premises which include, among other things, safety measures. Amendment is recommended for section 1 (2) of the Occupational Health and Safety Act (85 of 1993) to extend the competence definition of employees and employers. The Minister must provide further legal certainty, published in the Government Gazette, to ensure that school learners are regarded as employees and the respective provincial education departments, school governing bodies and schools are deemed to be employers under the definition in section 1 of this Act. The findings furthermore established that teachers have insufficient knowledge about delictual liability and education law and are ignorant about their legal duty of care towards learners. This lack of knowledge brings into question the legal relationship between participants (learners) and teachers who are legally accountable to learners. Teachers are ignorant of the correct notification procedures of injuries, emergent state liability and consequential damage to learners are exposed to during school activities(section 60 of the South African Schools Act 84 of 1996). Teachers are also not acquainted with the de minimis non curat lex principle where the law does not concern itself with trifles.Some learners, especially black school girls, are afraid of machines and refuse to work with it. More importantly, is the finding that some teachers are unqualified to teach Mechanical Technology as subject. Accordingly, it is recommended that school governing bodies comply with their legal duty to establish a safety policy for school workshops. Furthermore, tertiary institutions must develop curricula to empower teachers and teacher-students with essential practice-based education law knowledge. It is justifiably recommended that the Department of Basic Education, governing bodies, principals and unions formally support such training programmes to empower teachers. The complex nature of today's society is such that all role-players in the education profession must realise that, not only is knowledge of legal and technical aspects about the education profession necessary, it should become compulsory.
- Education