If parents are responsible for educating their kids about sex, who does the same for errant teachers?

08 November 2012 - 15:43 By Lebohang Nthongoa
Basic Education Minister Angie Motshekga. File photo
Basic Education Minister Angie Motshekga. File photo

Basic Education Minister Angie Motshekga's recent slam on parents to take responsibility for their children's sex education got me thinking about the well-known problems schools face, teachers sleeping with children, in and out of school.

To a degree I agree with the minister that parents need to be the primary educators of their own kids, after all, why would you let a stranger take that role when it comes to sex. But I fail to see how the minister doesn't see the place and opportunity to teach children on the subject. When you already have the pupils' ears, why not maximise on that opportunity to give them information you may not be sure they receive from home.

Secondly, not all parents are educated, or well informed on things like contraceptives and STIs, or even act responsibly in their sexual conduct. They may be ill-equipped to teach their children about sex. Again, for the sake of the children, why would you not want to give pupils complete and right information?

Minister Motshekga is comfortable throwing that responsibility squarely on the parents because she knows her own children are not affected a substandard school sex education. They had the benefit of a different education system, and teachers who took somewhat of a parental approach to teaching. Minister Motshekga simply doesn’t care enough.

In the recent past, there have been media reports of teachers' conduct when it comes to child abuse, or as some see it, having sexual 'relationships' with children in their care. There are obvious lines being crossed here, and I put that responsibility squarely on the basic education ministry.

I hate to think adults, especially those who took up the career with access to children to be a positive influence on those children, need another to give them a lesson on boundaries. But we can't ignore the fact that unsavoury characters seep into places responsible people in society wouldn't want them.

I do not know if teacher training entails educating would-be teachers how to relate to pupils (not just administration and subject knowledge). But it is evident that something is very lacking in that aspect of teacher training.

It goes without saying that children are in the care of the school, and teachers during school hours. It is a well known problem that children do engage in sex during school hours, with each other, and/or with teachers.

With this in mind, I fail to see how the minister can abdicate responsibility when it comes to sex education because it is evident teachers are in dire need of it too!

It's all well and good to expect parents to educate their children about sex, with the assumption that it happens under circumstances not involving school or teachers. But of those parents who do teach their kids, I doubt they factor in the fact that their kids are sexual prey to those people entrusted with their education.

One way to possibly turn things around is to educate and empower the very children who are ultimately possible victims of their teachers.

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