Johannesburg - Foreign children attending school in South Africa have been affected by the recent xenophobic attacks, the National Professional Teachers Organisation of SA (Naptosa) said on Monday.

"Learners have also been unsettled by the violence and some foreign nationals learners have been intimidated," said Naptosa president Basil Manuel.

Teaching was also disrupted in some schools, as some foreign nationals teaching in South Africa were afraid to report for duty amid the violent attacks which have claimed the lives of at least six people.

Manuel said it was mostly schools in Pietermaritzburg and Durban that were affected.

"We understandably saw several absentees from foreign teachers who are mostly from Zimbabwe on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday," said Manuel.

He said the organisation was shocked by the attacks and called on teachers to condemn the violence and law enforcement officials to take action.

He called on schools to protect foreign national teachers.

"[We] appeal to all teachers to use the power of education to fulfil their role as national-builders and inculcate a culture of tolerance, acceptance and respect for all people irrespective of nationality, race, colour, culture or religious faith," Manuel said.

He appealed to Basic Education Minister Angie Motshekga to ensure that security was intensified in schools in areas of conflict.

Naptosa would support schools and teachers affected by the attacks, Manuel said.