(Reposted from: IOL. September 6, 2018)
A Durban Deputy Principal has written her PhD on reducing violence at schools.
“As an educator, I have seen this increase in school violence first-hand, and I wanted to dig deeper into the causes of school violence, and the steps that could be taken to reduce it,” said Dr Zithobile Mkhize-Ngidi.
Mkhize-Ngidi will graduate in Public Administration (Peace Studies) in the Faculty of Management Sciences at the Durban University of Technology’s Spring graduation ceremony, on Thursday evening.
Her research topic was, “Reducing School Violence: A Peace Education Project Amongst Stakeholders in Umlazi”.
The Vikingozi Secondary School, Deputy Principal said she also wanted to pay careful attention to the roles and responsibilities of all stakeholders in the education system (educators, parents, community members, the Department of Education and pupils themselves) in reducing this pandemic.
She said her study sought to give all the stakeholders involved in the education sector a new perspective on violence, possibly offering a solution that is both restorative and effective.
“The study equipped various participants with the knowledge and tools to intercept potentially violent incidents before they escalated to a more detrimental state.
“The study used the ‘cure violence model’, and stated that violence is like a contagious disease, and therefore needs to be attended to as such.
The mother of two daughters said her journey to the completion of her PhD was challenging and required many sacrifices.
“Time was my biggest challenge. It was very difficult to balance my work life, social life and my studies. I compromised my position as a wife, mother and daughter in order to complete this journey. I had to make many sacrifices, such as not attending parties, or not going to the beach or the mall with my family. It was a long journey which started in 2015, and took me 3.5 years to complete,” added Dr Mkhize-Ngidi.
The Highflats-born Dr Mkhize-Ngidi said obtaining her PhD is a dream come true. “I never thought this day would come, whereby a rural lady like me would graduate with a red gown and be referred to as “Doctor”.
“I dedicate this qualification to my parents, who sacrificed, loved and supported me, despite all of their hardships – I salute them,” she said.
She said her future plans included mentoring new researchers, particularly those focused on research in education and schools. She also wants to work with other experienced researchers to produce publications that will influence the curriculum, with the aim of teaching learners as early as in grade R skills such as anger management, mediation and conflict resolutions, in order to reduce violence in schools.