Following a statement from the Department of Basic Education warning parents of a dangerous unknown drug consumed by learners in Gauteng, CapeTalk's Breakfast Show asked the Western Cape Education Department to give an update on the state of drug use by learners in the Cape.
According to Jessica Shelver, spokesperson for the Education MEC in the Western Cape, the school's drug testing report shows that from term 1 to 3 about 57.9% of primary school learner tested positive for drug use.
She says for the same term, about 72.9% of high school learner also tested positive.
We have created guidelines that schools may use as part of their code of conduct that says where there is a reasonable suspicion that a learner is under the influence of drugs, that learner can be tested by the principal.— Jessica Shelver, Spokesperson to Education MEC Debbie Schafer
We have quite an elaborate policy that schools can adopt in this regard.— Jessica Shelver, Spokesperson to Education MEC Debbie Schafer
Shelver says they offer support to the learners who have tested positive for drug use, however, the support is minimal.
She says there's a need for the involvement of the community as well as for parents to help these learners.
We have to support our learners as a community and as parents because the scourge of drug abuse is having such a huge impact on our learners and their ability to learn.— Jessica Shelver, Spokesperson to Education MEC Debbie Schafer
These stats are alarming and we have to do everything in our power to try and combat this.— Jessica Shelver, Spokesperson to Education MEC Debbie Schafer
To hear the rest of the conversation with Jessica Shelver, listen below: