Unethical rural teacher/pupil relationship

Dr Kwegyir Aggrey’s words, “If you educate a man, you educate an individual, but if you educate a woman, you educate a family (nation)”, are relevant today, as it was in the pre-colonial era.

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It is, therefore, not surprising that some people and organisations, including the Akurase Mpuntuo Foundation, have taken an interest in the education of young girls.

However, young girls’ education continues to be bedevilled with a myriad of challenges, including sexual abuse by some of their teachers. This is prevalent in rural areas, where such cases mostly go unreported and unpunished.

These immoral and unacceptable practices negatively impact the education and well-being of young girls in rural areas.

According to the Ghana Education Service’s (GES) rules of conduct for its staff, teachers are barred from having any form of sexual relationship with their pupils or students, and all forms of gender-based violence against school girls and boys are prohibited.

However, sexual harassment of schoolgirls is rampant in rural areas, where supervision is not consistent and law enforcement agencies are hard to come by. 

Sexual harassment

These harassments often start with teachers asking their female adolescent pupils/students to cook, clean, wash or perform other household chores for them.

It is surprising to note that parents of such victims are either happy that their wards are dating teachers who are deemed as very respected persons in their rural communities or demand money from the teachers instead of reporting them to the appropriate authorities.

For instance, in 2022, a teacher was caught trying to defile a 13-year-old class six pupil in Akim Bosovilla in the Eastern Region of Ghana.

Interestingly, the parents did nothing despite knowing the teacher’s heinous actions.

Instead of seeking justice for the young rural girl, they seized the opportunity to demand money from the teacher.

Negative

The negative consequences of such incidents are enormous and far-reaching.

When teachers use their positions of power and authority to violate their pupils/students' trust, they undermine their confidence, self-esteem and overall performance in school.

Such incidents also create an unsafe and unhealthy learning environment for children, affecting their ability to learn and thrive in the long term.

When a child's education suffers, it affects their future and the overall development of the community and country at large.

The GES, District Education Directors, and all other relevant stakeholders should take immediate action to address this issue, punish teachers who engage in immoral behaviour, and educate parents and communities about the negative effects of such behaviours on their children's education and well-being.

Raising awareness will make it clear that this behaviour is unacceptable and that we must work together to eliminate it from our rural communities.

Parents/guardians are also encouraged to prioritise the education and well-being of their young girls over immediate insignificant monetary gains from perpetrators of such heinous practices.

With women breaking barriers in all sectors, it is apparent that young girls in areas are worth more than commodities to be used and abused by people who should know better and guide them to unleash their inherent potential.

Let us join hands to address this canker once and for all.

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The writer is Coordinator,

Akurase Mpuntuo Mentorship Program.

E-mail: [email protected]

Connect With Us : 0242202447 | 0551484843 | 0266361755 | 059 199 7513 |

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