REPORTS linking lecturers in sexual misconduct is not only disturbing but is of grave concern and needs urgent attention.
It is worth understanding that sexual abuse in learning institutions is diverse in its dynamics and can range from forcible assault, unwanted groping, inappropriate propositions and seduction as well as soliciting and exchange of sexual images and videos.
These undoubtedly violate the professional responsibilities that the parents and community at large places on teachers and other educators to act as parents to the students they teach and placed under their care.
As such, these increasing disturbing incidents are causing serious alarm to parents, students and everyone concerned about school safety.
What happened at the Copperbelt University (CBU) where two lecturers have been arrested for soliciting funds and sexual favours from two first-year students to help them pass their examinations is most unfortunate and should not be condoned at any institution..
Such reports are disturbing and detrimental to the lecturer-student relationship.
It is the hope of everyone that the Higher Education Authority (HEZ) will, apart from expressing sadness, get to the root cause of such conduct and help end this growing trend.
We hope that the relevant authorities including university management not only at CBU, but across all higher learning institutions will put in place measures to address the problem without fail and help end this abuse of females in our universities.
We challenge these learning institutions to increase their efforts and begin to mould teachers that would not undress the profession through ill morals.
It is high time that management at these higher learning institutions put in place measures that protect learners from sexual exploitation.
What happened to the threat that was announced some time back by the Teaching Council of Zambia that any teacher to be found guilty of such acts would be put in a book of offenders and posted on its website in a bid to help reduce this vice?
The sad part about these cases is that some universities usually shield the lecturers and blame the students, girls, for enticing the lecturers when it is the other way round.
Thus universities should ensure they comply with relevant laws and ensure culprits of such acts are reported so that it acts as a deterrent to other would-be offenders.
Universities and the various law enforcement agencies should help trust among those that report such incidents unlike situations where it remains business as usual with these perpetrators of these acts allowed to teach while the victims suffer with the aftermath.
These offenders should be instantly dismissed if found guilty of abusing their pupils because they are definitely in the profession for the wrong reasons.
These lecturers need to act as parents and act as guides to these female learners that are sent to acquire knowledge to empower them and equip them for the future, not to serve the sexual interests of selfish teachers.
Likewise, those found guilty of covering these cases of sexual misconduct should also be dismissed for not taking their responsibility of protecting the children under their charge seriously.
They should not be spared because of the harm they inflict on innocent lives.
Let us have universities and colleges where parents and guardians will be able to freely send their daughters to acquire the needed education with full knowledge and truth that there are parents capable of protecting and caring for their children.
It is high time that these sexual predators, who sadly masquerade as teachers/lecturers are put to shame so that they could realise that education is the right for everyone, including the girls they abuse with impunity because of the positions they hold