More local schooling bodies are being encouraged to consider extending school hours to include after-school programmes to keep impressionable kids in a positive environment rather than exposing them to boredom or free time that could lead to crime or bullying.

A Harvard University study found that peak times for victimisation of others or crime committed by juveniles fall just after the schooling hours between 3pm and 6pm.

With this in mind, the consideration of offering after school programmes that children can participate in under supervision could be the perfect way to allow young people the opportunity to learn new skills while keeping them out of trouble.

This is in line with Western Cape Premier Alan Winde’s plans for the province. Earlier this year when Winde discussed the safety plan for the Cape, he mentioned this as one of his priorities. He stated that he would ensure thousands of children have access to programmes that would keep them busy during the afternoons that they would actually be interested in attending at the same time.

The South African Department of Correctional Services reports that hundreds of South African juveniles are arrested every year, with nearly 800 currently in prison for crimes they committed. This new direction could cut this number significantly.

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