Teachers are the worst abusers of school-going children, a humanitarian organisation Plan International child advisor Witness Chikoko has said.
Chikoko was speaking on Friday at a teachers’ training workshop on the rights of children whose theme was “Because I am a girl”.
The workshop was part of preparations for the Intwasa Arts Festival that will be held in September.
“From a survey that we carried out, we discovered that school children were victims of abuse with teachers being the greatest perpetrators,” said Chikoko.
Chikoko said the abuse was mostly through administering corporal punishment and having sexual relations with students.
“Circular P35 (Ministry of Education, Sport, Arts and Culture policy document) clearly states that it is only the headmaster who should administer corporal punishment and only as a last resort, but this is not being adhered to in our schools,” he said.
“We want to reach out to our teachers and the community at large and tell them that it is wrong to beat up children. Teachers have to find other ways of disciplining children”.
He said his organisation was currently collaborating with the Ministry of Education, Sport, Arts and Culture under the “Child Friendly Initiative” to curb abuse of children at the country’s learning institutions.
Chikoko also said his organisation had discovered that most school-going children in rural areas do not have birth certificates.
“In some areas, the registry offices are very far away from communities and in other cases, the children were born outside the country and the parents have not taken them for registration. It is rampant among those that have parents who live in South Africa,” he said.