Mwaka Mwandwe :
‘’Schools should come up with deliberate measures to protect pupils from abuse so we learn in a friendly environment.”
School systems are best placed to not only offer formal education but other social and life skills children need as they transition into adults. Majority of children ideally are expected to spend most of their times in school than at home and even with parents. Thus, teachers, in particular, are best placed to help build the character of their students to not only perform well in class but grow into responsible adults who in turn promote a safer community outside of the school setting.
Recently, I read a response online by a teacher who was commenting on a photo of two youngsters embracing each other inappropriately which stated, “we are not here to raise your kids, do it yourselves.” This was owing to the caption which questioned the presence of teachers for such behavior to be happing in schools.
Granted, children in schools are not the offspring of teachers, however choosing to be a teacher is more than calculations and equipping learners with knowledge, teachers are by far very central to human development in this era.
Once students enter the school ground, teachers will play so many roles such motivators, lawyers, social workers, health officials, environmentalists, counselors, and guardians. These responsibilities may not be in the job description but through the school system, children can learn about equality, equity, justice, care, human rights, hygiene, responsibility for the environment and community, that is something teachers are especially uniquely positioned to exhibit.
We don’t know what kind of homes children come from, the school needs to be a safe space for children to express themselves and talk about challenges, (inclusive of abuse) they may be having without fear of judgmental commentary or victimization, where confidentiality and protection are guaranteed for the learners.
We can create safer schools by having teachers that take on these responsibilities outside of their job description and create safer communities.
Yes, we can be better, if we do better!
Safety Saturday is a weekly series by SAFIGI Outreach Foundation.
Mwaka C. Mwandwe holds a BA in Psychology and History from the University of Zambia. She has been passionate about public health since she was 18 years old with key interest toward Adolescents and inclined to behavioral change and social justice. Her work experience, mainly in the NGO sector, have been bordered on Sexual Reproductive Health, life skills, human rights and promotion of Gender Equality. She loves to read varieties of books, watch movies and subtitled series. Her favorite pet is a cat and if she had the chance, she would declare a world junk food day so she can proudly store chocolate for it. She has been Volunteer Manager for SAFIGI since 2016.
SAFIGI Outreach Foundation Ltd is a not for profit organization based in Zambia with a vision to raise a generation where girls are empowered, equipped and fulfilled in every aspect of their life, for the development of the entire world. To know more about SAFIGI’s goals and activities, visit http://www.safetyfirstforgirls.org