Factors causing stress among children in Black secondary schools in Kwazulu
Mazibuko, Nzuzo Joseph Lloyd
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The purpose of this research project was to: • determine factors causing stress in children in Black Secondary Schools in KwaZulu; • highlight the effects of these stressful experiences on the psychosomatic-spiritual being of the adolescent; and • give some guidelines to ways of controlling, managing and combating stress in Black schools. The method of research entailed an empirical investigation in which 526 standards six to ten pupils from 15 secondary schools in the Ladysmith area of KwaZulu were involved. In order to determine the incidence of stress among these pupils and to obtain biographical data and information on stress, each of these pupils had to complete a questionnaire which had been developed by the researcher. Based on the biographical data gathered, it was concluded that the following groups of pupils were more prone to stress: • Girls • Std. 6, 7 and 9 pupils • Pupils from the rural areas • Pupils in schools with an enrolment of over 600 • Pupils in townships secondary schools • Pupils in classes with over 35 pupils per class The questionnaire also revealed that during 1991-1992 the majority of pupils had manifested the following problems because of stressful pressures in school: • nervousness, anxiety and exertion; tension headache; the urge to dodge certain lessons produced by the unbearable incompetence of a subject teacher; cheating; depression; feeling of inadequacy as a person; mental exhaustion; poor attention span; reading difficulties; migraine headaches; poor memory; acting before thinking; and physical exhaustion. • a poor vocabulary; grammar difficulties; comprehension difficulties; study methods difficulties; and poor vocational orientation. The ten most stressful school factors which were revealed are: • poor library facilities and stock; no Educational Assistance Services in the school; classes too crowded; poor laboratory facilities and equipment; inadequate supply of books and stationary; inadequate facilities in classrooms; unavailability of a News Letter informing parents and the public about intracurricular and extracurricular activities in the school; non-involvement of children in the management and decisionmaking of school policies; and tension accompanying the late release of Matric Examination results by the Department of Education and Training. The findings further revealed that very little is done in this region to offer educational support and assistance to children. The majority of the pupils stated that their schools did not have the following auxiliary programmes: • Panel for Identification, Diagnosis and Assistance (PIDA); In-school counselling; Cooperative learning; Teaching lessons on stress; Heads of Department (H.O.D. 's) responsible for School Guidance Services; Guidance teachers responsible for the teaching of School Guidance; Textbooks for School Guidance learning and teaching; a Guardianship or mentorship system; and the opportunity to freely talk out their problems. In conclusion, it can be stated that to address the impact of debilitating stress in the secondary schools for the Blacks in South Africa will require ongoing commitment and effort at a variety of levels, as well as the reactivation and use of an action-research orientation. Adaptive processes, not absolute solutions, should be the highest aspiration of educators and parents.
- Education