Teach predatory teachers a lesson
PANYAZA Lesufi, Gauteng’s irrepressible MEC for Education, publicly backed moves this week for the naming and shaming of teachers who prey on their pupils.
It’s a no-brainer. Teachers should protect and nurture their charges, not solicit sexual favours from them. Classes should be havens for education, not places of fear.
The scourge of inappropriate relationships within the school grounds has been the stuff of legend for generations across the world, immortalised in film and commemorated in song.
South Africa seems to struggle to contain it and to banish it with our collective outrage.
Lesufi’s call comes at a time when the country is reeling from revelations in the Northern Cape of at least 30 pupils at a single school being impregnated by two teachers and the release of a video purporting to show two KwaZulu-Natal teachers raping a pupil.
Sex at school, though, is not an issue that affects only teachers; last year, 8 700 girl pupils fell pregnant across the country. Some of them were in primary school.
There are at least three issues at play here. One is a morality issue involving under-age pupils; the second is a brazenness on the part of the teachers, which suggests a laissez-faire attitude to the issue by the broader society; and third, by Lesufi’s own admission, the fact that far too many people are put in charge of our classrooms who, because of prior misconduct, have no place being there.
Teachers should be vetted, and teachers’ unions need to encourage this for their own good as well as for the integrity of their profession.
Our teachers should be the best available to educate from example as well as knowledge, so that they can instil the values we dearly need in the next generation: the pursuit of excellence through discipline, temperance and abstinence.
We shouldn’t be allowing predators free rein.