By Confidente Reporter
AT LEAST 20 cases of sexual relationships between teachers and their learners have been recorded since January, just months after one such case ended in tragedy when two sisters aged 18 and 30 were murdered by a 32 year-old teacher who reportedly had a failed affair with one of the siblings.
While all teachers were charged with misconduct; only one was suspended, another case was concluded but forwarded to the Prime Minister’s office for salary reduction and investigations into other cases continue.
Of the 20 cases, the Kunene, // Karas, Erongo, Oshana, Omusati, Otjozondjupa, Oshikoto and Omaheke regions each recorded one case, the Kavango East and Ohangwena recorded three cases each while two cases were each recorded in Hardap, Zambezi and Khomas. No cases of such illicit relationships were reported in the Kavango West region.
“Teachers are guided by the Teachers Code of Conduct…. which stipulates that a teacher, in relation to learners, may not become involved in any form of romance or sexual relations with a learner or sexual harassment or abuse of a learner. It therefore goes without saying that a teacher who is sexually involved with a learner is, first and foremost, violating the law, abusing power as an educator and violating the community and societal trust,” said public relations officer in the Education Ministry, Johanna Absalom.
Statistics over the last three years show that there has been a surge of illicit relationships involving educators and their underage learners with 27 recorded in 2014 and 39 in 2015. Confidente last year reported that 24 school principals, teachers and heads of departments countrywide were fired from the public service after they impregnated schoolgirls or were found guilty of having affairs with their learners. The lid on the sexual misconduct was lifted after the educators, were reported by their victims or caught showering pupils with lavish gifts. “Any non-professional relationship or sexual involvement of a teacher with a learner, whether or not it results in pregnancy is considered to be a serious violation of the code of Conduct for the Teaching Service and failure to comply with the Code of Conduct is dealt with in terms of the Namibia’s Public Service Act,” Absalom explained adding that, “Stern and deliberate action is taken against staff members who have abused their position of trust and who have committed acts of misconduct based on procedures…initial investigation is lodged at school, followed by preliminary investigation at regional level with an independent team.”
Absalom also noted that once a teacher is found guilty, they are blacklisted and given eight years to rehabilitate. “For re-employment, the teacher should declare from the outset if he/she was dismissed from a previous employer on the grounds of misconduct. If such information which was not declared and was knowingly withheld and comes to light after re-employment, the person faces immediate dismissal.” Absalom also said that to be reinstated, the teachers undergo a screening process and testimonials from three institutions are required, for example from a church leader, regional counsellor or previous employer.
Confidente. Lifting the Lid. Copyright © 2015