By Sandra Machima
TEACHERS coming into conflict with the law should not just be transferred but punished to avoid eroding the education sector and the future of the country, Gallant Youth Zambia executive director Henry Mulenga has charged.
Mr Mulenga noted that a lot had to be done in the Ministry of General Education, failure to which efforts made by the government to invest in education for the development of the country might not be effective.
He bemoaned the growing trend of abuse of girl pupils by some teachers.
About 23 teachers were dismissed countrywide by the Teaching Service Commission for sexually abusing and impregnating pupils in 2016.
Mr Mulenga said his organisation was saddened with the illicit activities involving teachers who were sexually abusing pupils when they were supposed to provide a conducive learning environment to the pupils, to help shape the child and to become better members of society.
He said Zambia needed a knowledgeable society to develop, saying education was the only way to open up the minds of children.
Mr Mulenga said transferring erring teachers was not enough to end sexual abuse in schools, but instead perpetrators should face stiffer punishments that would deter others from engaging in such activities.
He said teachers got responsibilities to ensure girl pupils were empowered especially in the education sector, saying it was sad that cases of early pregnancies and early marriages were ongoing.
“We are appealing to the ministry to deal with such cases decisively, failure to which the education of the many pupils may be at risk, despite efforts made to ensure many children have access to education.
We should not see a situation where parents are now scared of taking their children to schools, especially the girl-child who is the most vulnerable in society because of the teachers’ behaviour towards them,” he said.
And Mr Mulenga has also appealed to parents to report such acts to stop the rot and ensure perpetrators were punished.
He said it was cruel to see a teacher engage in an intimate relationship with a pupil, as such behaviour was tarnishing the image of the teaching industry.