File: The introduction of teacher standards may actually reduce teacher professionalism if not handled correctly, writes Natasha Robinson.
JOHANNESBURG – The Basic Education Department wants teachers accused of sexual misconduct to be dealt with assertively.
Minister Angie Motshekga is calling on provincial departments and the South African Council of Educators to act promptly in such cases.
Pictures and videos emerged last week showing the principal of a Gauteng school engaging in sexual acts with school pupils.
READ: Lesufi disgusted by compromising principal and pupils pictures
The principal has since resigned, but the local community is up in arms.
Last year more than 87 pupils were allegedly sexually abused by a patroller at a school in Soweto.
Motshekga says: "[We must] teach the children about their rights and about their bodies so they can have the confidence to speak out … [We must] work with parents to see if there are signs that are suspicious and [girls must] be able to report sexual harassment. Girls feel embarrassed, they don’t speak about it, and that’s how they allow it to continue. Children must also know they are each other’s keepers."
Motshekga says it is important for parents and teachers to encourage pupils to speak up if they are abused.