Namibian teachers coercing schoolgirls

Windhoek- Namibia (PANA) -- Aids is no longer a health issue alone, but indeed a developmental issue, the director of Namibian College of Open Learning (NAMCOL), Frances van Wyk, said Thursday.
"While our country is struggling to create jobs and overcome poverty, the epidemic is destroying the most productive members of society", she said at Namcol's annual Aids Awareness Day.
Last year, Van Wyk said, Namcol as the largest educational institution in Namibia assumed additional responsibility by intervening positively and aggressively in the lives of young men and women in whose hands the destiny of the country rests.
The Namcol HIV/AIDS awareness campaign was launched on 20 June 2000.
Educators should help in curbing the disease and deal with its effects by setting an example of responsible sexual behaviour, and disseminate correct information about the disease and its effects, Van Wyk said.
"Discuss the disease, and help the young ones to protect themselves from becoming infected, getting sick and dying.
With our frequent contact with parents, we have yet another opportunity to spread the message widely into the community.
" Van Wyk She called on educators to put an end to the practice of demanding sex from schoolgirls.
"This does not only demonstrate a disrespect for the rights and dignity of women and young girls, but having sex with schoolgirls is a betrayal of the trust of the community.
"Our lives are at stake, our lives are precious.
HIV/AIDS brings misery and grief to our precious young people, colleagues, friends and families.
"Let us speak openly about HIV/AIDS, let us tackle ignorance and prejudice about the disease, and let us treat the epidemic as a national emergency and engage ourselves in the struggle against it," Van Wyk added.

21 june 2001 21:11:00

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