THE common role of a teacher is to teach knowledge to the pupils. But beyond this, teachers are expected to be role models who should inspire the children to aspire for greater heights.
Apparently, it is widely accepted and recognized that the role of a teacher regardless of sex, is more than just planning and executing lesson plans in classrooms.
The nature of their position mean that teachers spend so much time with children and in this regard they are in many cases regarded as third parents after father and mother of their pupils.
However, despite this well-defined role, there are times that some teachers, particularly male ones have compromised their profession by turning their pupils into sexual partners.
In the case of rural areas, some teachers have used their economic power to bulldoze their way into relationships with their female pupils while others have even gone ahead to marry the children.
Besides economic advantage, some teachers have used examination malpractices and other petty favours in schools to persuade and lure the female pupils into sexual relationships.
It is against this background that we welcome the advice to male teachers from the Zambia National Education Coalition (ZANEC) on the need to exercise high moral standards and identify their roles.
Sleeping with your own pupils is not only a manifestation of the low regard for a girl child, but also an insult to the Government, which has been fighting hard to promote the education of the girl child.
Additionally, such behavior is regressive in that it suppresses the vibrancy of the girl child and relegates her from active participation in economic activities.
As ZANEC executive director Grace Sinkamba observed, we expect teachers to be role models who should convince the children that education is key to success rather than making them grooms.
Furthermore, we expect teachers to be a constant positive role model for their pupils, particularly for children that lack a solid family foundation so that they can achieve even more.
Pupils always look up to teachers and may pattern their own behavior and work ethic to match the instructor. For instance, if teachers are marrying their own pupils, children will believe there is nothing wrong with such behaviour, but the results will certainly be a calamity for a girl child.
Similarly, if teachers inspire the children to get better education, the pupils will definitely abandon detrimental lifestyles and embrace positive behaviours that would change their lives for better.
Much as we recognize that there is a stiff punishment for teachers having sex with their own pupils, we are aware that some teachers have merely been transferred from one school to the other as punishment.
This is not good enough and should be stopped! We hope that with the birth of the Teaching Council of Zambia (TCZ), the punishment for teaching, engaging in sexual affairs with their own pupils will go beyond revocation of practising certificates.