By Staff Reporter
NOW immune to corporal punishment and pampered with an array of rights, school children are turning classrooms into sex nests, developments that have left teachers bemused.
Some are even practicing sex orgies in classrooms and turning up for lessons drunken.
While rights activists are celebrating the introduction of an array of child rights in schools, hapless teachers are crying foul, saying the schools have become ungovernable due to rampant indiscipline.
Teachers say the high levels of indiscipline among school children follow a raft of changes to the Education Amendment Act, which gave learners an array of rights and outlawed corporal punishment.
The country adopted the Education Amendment Act, 2020, to align its Education Act to the country’s constitution.
Among other things, amendment bars schools from sending away pupils who would have fallen pregnant and allows them to continue with classes.
Invariably section 68 of the Act requires every school to have a disciplinary policy that deals with issues of learner discipline within schools.
Human Rights Watch Southern Africa Director Dehw Mavhinga said amended Education Act is a step in the right direction.
“Zimbabwe’s amended Education Act is a significant step forward for children across the country. Among other things, the amendment prohibits corporal punishment and the exclusion of pregnant girls from school in accordance with the Zimbabwe Constitution which guarantees the right to education,” Mavhinga said.
“The new law provides that children are not subject to any form of physical, or psychological torture or degrading treatment in school, and prohibit teachers from beating students. An overwhelming number of students are affected by corporal punishment in Zimbabwe’s schools,” he said.
However, teachers believe the outlawing of corporal punishment has had adverse effects in terms of discipline in learning institutions.
“While we recognise the need for the recognition of the learners’ rights it is important to highlight that our schools are now degenerating into havens of criminality. Leaners are coming to school drunk; others are carrying dangerous weapons; others are having sex at schools. Generally, discipline has hit rock bottom in our schools and its quite a sad scenario. We don’t know what is going to happen to this generation,” a teacher from a public school told this publication in an interview.
Recently, a Harare teacher Talent Chingwaru was slapped with a three-month jail term after he was convicted of assaulting student at his school.
It is said the student who is in Lower Six was found in the Ordinary Level class watching some movies during lesson time, Chingwaru ordered him to go back to his class. Instead, the student went to a biology classroom and coincidentally met Chingwaru who confronted him.
The confrontation resulted in a heated exchange of words leading to Chingwaru assaulting the student.
President of the Progressive Teachers Union of Zimbabwe (Ptuz) Takavafira Zhou said the situation in education institutions is very sad.
“There is growing indiscipline in schools emanating largely from premature granting our students too many rights so that teachers have become virtually powerless to guide and counsel pupils. Worse still with the miserable salaries that teachers are getting they have lost their leadership role, lustre, dignity and role model so much that pupils are not listening to advice from teachers,” Zhou said.
“Whilst giving rights to learners is crucial, we must have done that gradually rather than copy and paste rights from Western worlds with long intercourse for rights from an early age. Our abrupt granting of rights gave pupils a wrong impression of freedom to do anything including arranging sex orgy parties where students would be naked drinking, smoking and taking drugs before making love,” Zhou said.
Government has said it is looking into the issue of learner discipline.
Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education spokesperson Taungana Ndoro said: “We have since assigned our Learner Welfare, Psychological Services and Special Needs department to provide the necessary support to our schools.”