A TEACHER at Chirere Secondary School in Odzi was suspended last week for allegedly having a sexual relationship with three Form Four female students from a neighbouring school.
The three Lorn Satellite Secondary School students are currently being accommodated at a bush boarding facility in JI Village under the Matanda Resettlement Scheme as they write their ‘O’ Level final examinations at Chirere Secondary School.
Bush boarding has gained prominence as students seek accommodation closer to their schools or examination centres.
In Zimbabwe, the legal age of consent for sex is 18.
It is a crime, therefore, for anyone to have sexual intercourse with a person below that age.
Manicaland Provincial Education Director, Mr Edward Shumba said the teacher, only identified as Rumhungwe, has been suspended.
“I have been alerted of the alleged sexual relationship between the teacher and the three ‘O’ Level candidates.
“The teacher has since been suspended as investigations on the matter are ongoing. We will follow the disciplinary procedures as provided for by the law and the policy of the Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education,” he said.
Mr Shumba warned teachers against sexually abusing minors.
He said the Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education has a firm stance against the vice.
“It is sad that we continue being seized with matters of this nature at a time when we thought teachers are now aware of the obvious consequences.
“Teachers must always be mindful of the loco-parentis role that they are entrusted with. As professionals, we expect them to conduct themselves in a mature and humane way while dealing with students.
“As authorities, we will not ignore such issues and will get to the bottom of the matter. Appropriate disciplinary action will be taken where need be,” said Mr Shumba.
The owner of the house where the three girls were staying, Mr Bobo Hamadziripi, told The Manica Post that Rumhungwe would either knock on the girls’ window and invite them to join him at the nearby shops or provide bus fare for them to join him at the rural shopping centre.
The issue came to light after one of the girls’ brother caught wind of the sexual abuse case.
Mr Hamadziripi is assisting in the investigations as he sympathises with the parents who trusted him with their children.
“Their parents approached me and asked me to accommodate their children. I have always provided accommodation for the children, either during the course of the term or during exam time.
“All along I have been accommodating boys and this was my first time taking girls,” he said.