Malawi Education Minister warns teachers of sexual harassment of schoolgirls
Minister of Education, Science and Technology, Bright Msaka has issued a warning to teachers involved in sexual abuses with girl children, saying they would face the chop once caught if they do not desist from the malpractice.
The Minister sounded the warning during the official launch of a gender-based violence campaign against girls and boys in schools in the area of Traditional Authority Mpherembe in Mzimba District
Msaka said any teacher found to have molested a girl-child will face instant dismissal. He said letting scot-free such misconducts does not only lead to high school dropout, but early marriages and pregnancies for the young girls.
He assured people in the area his ministry would ensure that the life of a girl child is safeguarded.
The Minister said the launch of the campaign against gender based violence against girls and boys by Oxfam and Girls Empowerment Network was a good complement to government efforts to provide a safe learning environment for the both boy and girl children.
“Previously, we never heard such kind of abuses because they were hidden, but now with the government policy to protect girls from these abuses there is need for greater awareness to understand the value of girl child education,” Msaka said.
According to the Minister, the government would soon come up with a policy that would prohibit teachers from meeting a girl child on their own without a third party. He said the policy is expected to reduce abuse of girls by some teachers.
Senior Chief Mpherembe acknowledged that cases of girl child abuses are rampant in his area though he did not have statistics to back the status quo.
He believed that with the coming in of Oxfam and Girls Empowerment Network (GENET) in his area, the database would be made available which would show whether such cases are on the decline or still increasing.
“There are issues of early marriages and school dropout which are hampering the goals of keeping these girls in school and as a custodian of the people, I am saddened by the development,” Inkosi Mpherembe pointed out.
The Chief urged girls who were impregnated or are pregnant to go back to school once they deliver. He said the re-admission policy set aside by the government permits them to do so.
The gender-based violence campaign against boys and girls is going to be implemented in four districts of Mzimba, Balaka, Dowa and Phalombe.
Oxfam and Girls Empowerment Network are championing the campaign, which is expected to help retain boys and girls in school.
The function was marked by traditional Ingoma Dance which the Minister joined in support of the occasion.
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