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‘Teachers found guilty of sexual abuse must be prosecuted'

There's been a spate of incidents in recent months in which teachers have been accused of abusing pupils.

A teacher draws on the chalkboard while teaching his class. Picture: EWN

JOHANNESBURG - Education officials say teachers found guilty of sexual abuse must not only be dismissed but also be prosecuted.

Gauteng Education MEC Panyaza Lesufi is leading talks at a consultative summit between the department and independent schools in Midrand on Wednesday.

They're talking about a number of issues, including tolerance and how to root out racial discrimination, especially in private schools.

There's been a spate of incidents in recent months in which teachers have been accused of abusing pupils.

Chair of Gauteng's Portfolio Committee on Education, Joe Mpisi, says a dismissal is simply not enough.

“It must not only be that the teacher will be dismissed, they must be arrested. Statutory rape must be recorded as such and people must face justice on those issues. So for us, I think that's one thing that we’re going to support on that issue.”

BLACK LISTED EDUCATORS

The Gauteng Education Department is establishing a single data base of black-listed educators to be shared between independent and public schools.

With a jump in the number of allegations of misconduct and abuse being levelled against teachers, Lesufi says drastic steps are needed to protect pupils.

“Because they will leave our sector to go to the private sector or people will leave the private sector to come to our sector. So if we have a shared data base it will assist us.”

MEC Lesufi says teachers who enter the profession must be thoroughly vetted.

“At the beginning of 2018 we should have a data base that is publicly available, publicly accessible. That there is no teacher that will be employed by the private sector and the public sector in Gauteng that have not been vetted through this particular calendar.”

The education MEC also says private and public schools must come up with ways to work together and not compete against each other.

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