34 teachers charged for sexual misconduct
The number of guilty teachers could, however, be much higher as some cases are not reported, with learners afraid to speak out.
27 September 2021 | Education
Between 2010 and 2020, the education ministry charged 34 teachers from across the country for sexual misconduct for either being romantically involved with learners or sexually harassing those under their tutelage.
Those found guilty were subsequently banned from the teaching profession for eight years.
This is according to education ministry executive director Sanet Steenkamp, who was responding to a Namibian Sun enquiry into the abuse of learners at the hands of teachers, something which is prohibited by law.
Steenkamp revealed that between 2010 and 2020, a total of 34 teachers across the country were charged for misconduct after they defied the teaching profession’s code of conduct.
“The ministry reported 34 cases of sexual harassment or sexual relationships between teachers and learners countrywide during the period,” she revealed.
The number of teachers guilty of this practise could, however, be much higher as some cases are not reported, with learners are afraid to speak out or afraid to lose the affections of the involved teacher.
Steenkamp explained that, currently, reporting and charging teachers only applies to those employed in public schools or teachers at private school who are employed by government in terms of the Public Service Act.
Teachers’ employment in the public service is guided by a code of conduct for the teaching service, under the amended regulations of the Education Act of 2001, which prohibits a teacher from becoming involved in any form of romantic or sexual relationship with a learner, and the sexual harassment or abuse of a learner.
This means justice is often not served for learners who may fall victim to teachers at private schools who are not employed by government.
Steenkamp said the ministry does not condone sexual misconduct, which is why an eight-year ban from the profession is applied if one is found guilty.
“The ministry does not condone teacher-learner relationships. Any teacher found guilty of improper sexual conduct with a learner is without hesitation dismissed,” she said.
“Upon appointment into the teaching profession, teachers are taken through the code of conduct for teachers which stipulates all guidelines,” she said.
She further explained how a teacher banned from the profession can reapply for employment.
“A teacher who has been dismissed on the basis of improper sexual conduct with a learner will have to wait eight years to reapply for employment in the teaching service.
“For a dismissed teacher to be eligible for readmission into public schools, he or she must meet terms and conditions set out in the ministerial circular 1 of 1997,” Steenkamp said.
Such a person will, however, not be considered for re-employment at the same school or in the same town or location where they committed the act of misconduct, she added.
“A report from a rehabilitation expert must accompany the application for re-employment,” Steenkamp said.