South African Journal of Education
On-line version ISSN 2076-3433
Hazing, associated with initiation, aims at taking newcomers from novice status to a status of functional and acknowledged members of a new group. However, the process is often dangerous, injurious, and usually secretive. Hazing may occur as an unauthorised component of institutionally sanctioned orientation programmes commonly held for new students at educational institutions at the beginning of the academic year. This study focuses on the occurrence of hazing elements in orientation programmes (OP) for Grade 8 boys primarily run by Grade 12 learners in boys-only secondary schools in South Africa. A cross-sectional survey was conducted by administering a researcher-designed questionnaire to a non-probabilistic sample of 296 Grade 12 learners enrolled at three boys-only secondary schools in Johannesburg. The computer assisted analysis strategy included frequency distributions, exploratory factor analysis, and analysis of variance. Findings indicated that respondents generally agreed with regard to the structure, aims, and behaviours common to orientation programmes. Respondents strongly disagreed about the occurrence of physical and sexual abuse and activities aimed at discomfort in the OP; however, respondents showed ambivalence about the occurrence of certain activities, which may deteriorate into hazing. Prior experience of an orientation programme when in Grade 8; length of enrolment in the school, and boarder status affected respondents' perceptions of certain aspects of orientation programmes.
Keywords : Boys-only secondary schools; gender theory; Grade 8 learners; Grade 12 learners; hazing; learner safety and wellbeing; masculinity; orientation programmes; psychological theories; survey research.