Women Caucus of Parliament has urged government authorities in Education sector to sack all teachers found guilty of sexual abuse of girls and stop transferring them elsewhere.
The Caucus was reacting after watching Mwayi Wotsiriza (Last Chance) movie screened at parliament building on Wednesday evening.
“When a teacher has been found guilty of molesting and sexually abusing a girl child, the punishment that they get is to be moved somewhere else. There is need to stop transfer offenders because there are laws which punish those offenders and that we shouldn’t transfer those teachers,” said Jessie Kabwila, Chairperson for Women Caucus and former University of Malawi lecture.
“As Women Caucus we want to make it clear, there should be no last chances for teachers who abuse girl children. Once they do this there is need for strong punitive measures that will make people stop,” she added
However, through discussions that took place after watching the movie, female parliamentarians also expressed their disappointment over the absence of Ministry of Education officials at the screening although invitation was sent to them.
The Caucus noted number of areas in education sector exposed in the film which they would have wanted the Ministry of Education officials to see and answer their questions on how it is addressing those problems and on various problems which the Caucus feel may hinder girl child education.
The Caucus mentioned recently introduced Secondary and College fees and how it neatly link to how long a girl child stays in school.
The group emphasized that it was wrong to introduce or hike fees when there is looming hunger. They argued that there is ample proof that for the girl child, fees can be the very reason that teachers can use to abuse underprivileged girls.
It was also noted that there is poor working conditions which includes; poor salaries, bad housing, and late salaries of teachers a problem which has led to underperformance of teachers and increased sexual abuse of girls in schools. All these were supposed to be answered by the Ministry.
However, Kabwila has said the Caucus will issue to the ministry a document that will highlight and “makes it very clear” that teaching service in Malawi has no place for a teacher who abuses the girl child.
“We will also make a strong case of the linkage between fees payment at Secondary Schools how that is going to increase child marriages and dropout rates in schools if nothing is done to assist the parents who cannot afford to take their children to school,” said Kabwila.
Mwayi Wotsiriza by Theatre International is a film about sexual abuse of girls and working conditions of teachers in rural primary schools. In the film, a frustrated teacher ‘propositions’ a daughter of an economically vulnerable rural woman and impregnates her. The system, already baffled by inadequacy of teaching staff, has to find a way of disciplining him.