October 3, 3016 By Ibrahim Tarawallie
Hundreds of children interviewed during an assessment carried out by Save The Children International have recommended that teachers who harass students for sex or money in exchange for grades be banned or punished.
This according to them would help in ensuring their protection from abuse at the hands of teachers in school because those who demand sex or money from high school students in exchange for passing grades were a serious impediment to girls completing their education.
The report of the assessment titled “Children’s Ebola Recovery Assessment II” which was made public last Wednesday (September 28) at the Family Kingdom Resort in Freetown, was a follow up to the first assessment done in collaboration with World Vision and Plan International in March 2015.
The assessment was carried out in four districts – Western Area Urban and Rural Districts, Pujehun and Kailahun – in July this year through participatory focus group discussions with 522 children from 16 villages.
Many of the children expressed concern that some girls have been failed by their teachers simply because they were not willing to sleep with them and that they were of the opinion that it was better to have sex with teachers than have poor grades.
They noted that the increase in teachers’ salaries and payment on time could prevent the latter from asking students for money in exchange for grades.
They also recommended for improved sanitation at schools by the provision of adequate toilets and hand-washing facilities for children to use and that special scholarships be awarded to Ebola orphans and survivors to make it easy for them to acquire quality education as they already have to put up with a lot of discrimination and that some of their families do not want to lend support or be associated with them.
“Supply schools with better furniture, text books and teaching aids. Conduct awareness campaign in schools to stop the stigmatization of Ebola survivors and orphans so that they can feel accepted in school,” the children recommended.