The Gauteng Department of Education has announced it will beef up security measures around schools during the December holiday season.

The department has teamed up with the Department of Community Safety to develop a security management plan to combat crime.

Schools have been targeted more and more in recent years, with criminals targeting pupils equipped with new tablets, computers, laptops and smartboards as part of the Paperless Classroom initiative introduced in 2015.

Tablets given to pupils were reportedly stolen from a number of them outside school grounds while over 100 smartboards were stolen by March this year.

Gauteng MEC for Education said the department will work together with the SAPS, school patrollers, Community Policing Forums and school governing bodies to assist in protecting schools’ infrastructure and facilities.

We are worried that during the December vacation period majority of our schools become victims of vandalism and burglary, there is an urgent need for us to work jointly with communities together with law enforcement agencies,” Lesufi said.

Communities have been urged to work together with government and authorities to combat crime in schools.

“Not only does these criminal acts affect learners and teachers but also impacts negatively on government spending as they have to spend money to replace stolen goods,” the department said.