By Wiliam J. Mbangula
President Hifikepunye Pohamba has cautioned teachers who impregnate students and those who run liquor outlets near schools to stop the practice immediately.
He said such teachers are morally corrupting learners instead of teaching them as expected by government and parents alike.
To entice children, such teachers erect shebeens near schools where they teach, thus exposing the children to all forms of illicit activities and abuse.
The president said this when he opened the N$44 million Mwadikange Kaulinge Secondary School.
He called on traditional leaders and regional councillors to ensure such practices are halted as a matter of urgency.
“If there are those who have already started putting up their shebeens near schools, they should pack up and go,” he said at the official opening of the school on Friday.
The opening of the school in his home constituency of Ondobe, which is led by one of his sons, Councillor Mandume Pohamba, was preceded by a prayer led by Rundu -based Elcin Church Bishop Johannes Sindano.
The President told the gathering that included the Minister of Education Nangolo Mbumba, Governor of Ohangwena Usko Nghaamwa, the Director of Education in Ohangwena Region Josia Udjombala, church and traditional leaders that disturbing reports have reached him that learners at schools are being impregnated by adults who take advantage of the innocence, poverty and ignorance of young girls to abuse them.
“Such a situation cannot be allowed to continue … sleeping with under-aged girls is a criminal offence punishable by a court of law,” said the President.
The culprits, he added, should be brought to book without mercy.
Learners exposed to such undesirable activities need to be protected against sexually transmitted diseases including the HIV/AIDS pandemic, said Pohamba.
Such unwanted pregnancies, he noted, cause school dropouts and infections including HIV/AIDS.
“Teachers are entrusted to teach learners and to protect them against any wrongdoing. But instead of doing what they are supposed to do, they become wolves turning against their own learners. What a disappointment. Shame on you teachers who are doing this,” said the President.
He said children are the leaders of tomorrow, hence there is need to mould them and enable them to reach their fullest human potential. Such potential could be reached by providing them with an education that is suitable and relevant for the challenges of present and future needs.
He said government’s success to provide the necessary facilities and opportunities depends largely on how the communities use such facilities.
This is so because the provision of quality education does not depend on the availability of classrooms, laboratories and libraries alone, it also demands teachers being properly accommodated.
For this reason, the President called on the Ministry of Education to consider building houses for teachers wherever a new school is built. This would serve as a welcome development and an incentive for teachers, especially those who apply for teaching positions in rural areas where accommodation is scarce.
He called on the school management and learners to look after the property with care. The new school should be a place where effective teaching and learning should take place, where children would be transformed into independent thinkers and innovators who can initiate and provide solutions for the challenges facing the country.
Specifically addressing himself to parents, he told them that they are the first teachers of the children because they instil the ethical, cultural and behavioural norms in them at all stages of early childhood development.
When children are well behaved and disciplined, he explained, it makes the task of teachers at school much easier.
As a result, the school must open its doors to parents so that community members can make input into the management of the school.
Mwadikange Kaulinge Secondary School is named after one of the veterans of the Ovakwanyama King Mandume Ndemufayo’s fighters against the combined forces of the Portuguese, British and South African colonisers. Reverend Vilho Mwadikange Kaulinge of the Elcin Church who died in October 1992 was founding headman of Ondobe village where the school is located.