It is with dismay that NAPTOSA noted the statistics on cases of inappropriate sexual behaviour by educators reported by the South African Council of Educators’ (SACE) to Parliament’s Portfolio Committee on Basic Education.

An increase of more than 230% in reported cases of sexual abuse by educators in the last five years is shocking, albeit from a low base. As far as NAPTOSA is concerned even one case, is one too many.

What particularly hurts, is how these cases taint the education profession and, more so, all those educators who, on a daily basis, nurture the learners in their care.

We support SACE in acting against any educator, who after a thorough investigation, is found to have sexually abused a learner and to ensure that such a person does not enter the education system again.  But educators also need protection against false accusations and we trust that SACE will do the right thing where this is found to be the case.

Although the number of reported cases of sexual abuse of learners by educators are unacceptable, NAPTOSA would rather see these cases reported than swept under the carpet. We therefore call on parents and our members to be vigilant to behavioural changes in learners that could point to possible cases of sexual abuse, whether in general or by educators. Affected learners are also encouraged to come forward and immediately report cases of abuse to their Principal, or a teacher they trust.

We trust that the President’s announced emergency action plan to combat gender-based violence in the country will yield the necessary results, also in as far as inappropriate sexual behaviour by educators is concerned.

In support of NAPTOSA’s position on this matter, we call on all our members to embrace the anti-School Related Gender-Based Violence (SRGBV) programme of the union.

B.L. Manuel
Executive Director