On Saturday the 30th of August I attended the Discipline Summit 2014 of the Western Cape Education Department. Those invited included Principals, Governing Body Chairpersons and education officials.

Though critical issues were discussed about violence within the school environment I was impressed by the commitment to progress by those present. Under the inspirational leadership of MEC Debbie Schafer and the Head of Education Penny Vinjevold I consider the department to be moving forward. These two women are intelligent and practical and those qualities are required in education.

The sharing by the Principal of Groote Schuur, Mr M Ehrenreich was exciting. His words that school leadership must teach and affirm and acknowledge self- discipline was noteworthy. Managing negativity thru timing and the growth of a value based system at schools were vital concepts.

That some Principals protested that they had not been properly trained to manage school violence was heart-breaking. This implied that the violence in our society had permeated into our education system and that society was losing the battle for schools to remain safe spaces of learning.

Others present made vital contributions with regards to issues of virtue and that society requires citizens that add value. The quality and method of debate in our Parliament and others spheres of governance does not inspire confidence. Society needs a better quality leadership. I believe that those in education need to manage and change the social conversation to a positive narrative.

That a few people are aiming to disrupt society because of their own agenda suggests that the vast majority of people are committed to progress. What is required is for the authorities to remove those within our midst that are hell bent on destroying our collective progress as a society.

In the words of the wise, it only takes one rotting apple to spoil a whole barrel of apples.

Cllr Yagyah Adams

Cape Muslim Congress