Teachers urged the government to recognise the impact and importance of Life Skills teachers when reporting abuse against children.
The teachers, who responded to an article published in New Era last week on violence against children, said there are no laws that are protecting them for exposing violence against children within their school community, hence they felt their lives are at stake.
“We need to do our best to always be there for our children, even those going through the most, to grow the children of this nation. As Life Skills teachers, we are not protected enough to report sensitive cases and to encourage the learners to report violence in their community. We are requesting our government to look into these with an open eye,” one teacher said on condition of anonymity.
About 45% of men and 40% of women aged 18 to 24 experienced physical, sexual or emotional violence during childhood, gender equality minister Doreen Sioka said last week.
Some teachers, who refused to be named, say they are aware of the Whistleblower Protection Act 10 of 2017 that should provide for the investigation of disclosures of improper conduct, and the protection of whistle-blowers.
They are, however, saying that the act does not entirely protect them in the community, and should be expanded.
“It is extremely vital that we work as a collective in an environment that does not discriminate on people’s status and positions in society, and does not discriminate against prominent officials or public figures to curb the increase of this evil disease,” one teacher stressed.
Norah Mamene, a Life Skills teacher at the Rocky Crest High School, attended the inter-ministerial dialogue to end violence against children in Namibia last Wednesday, and explained that Life Skills teachers have taken the role of parents at work and at home.
“The burden and strain placed on them is unimaginable. The daily living skills cover an extensive section of the Life Skills syllabus, which they have to merge with their skills. The topics those children are shy and embarrassed of are the topics a Life Skills teacher are forced to listen to,” she explained.
Mamene said more needs to be done in terms of the law for the teachers to feel comfortable in dealing with sensitive matters.
“The recognition and funding for training programmes of Life Skills teachers in public and private schools is a topic much slept on and ignored, and should be tapped into to exploit the potential it bears,” she added.