Southern Africa: “Sexually Transmitted Marks” – who is to blame?

Southern Africa: “Sexually Transmitted Marks” – who is to blame?

Date: July 22, 2012
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The latest “trend” from institutions of higher learning is that students and lecturers are exchanging a lot more than knowledge and information. It is ‘alleged’ by some students that lecturers are soliciting sexual favours from students in exchange for better academic pass marks in their respective courses. Who is responsible for this trend, which in a doctor-patient relationship is deemed unethical?

Sex-for-marks, often dubbed “Sexually Transmitted Marks” (STM) is a well-known phenomenon. The University of Namibia (UNAM) and Walter Sisulu University (Mthatha campus, South Africa) made the news in 2011 with the sex-for-marks scandal. Cases have also been reported in Malawi and Zimbabwe.

In the Namibian case, the probe conducted by the university did not yield any result, as no students came forth with information. The university exonerated the lecturers.

The STM case in Namibia is a typical case of sexual harassment in tertiary institutions. A research conducted by Gender Links in 2010 titled Gender in Media Education (GIME): An audit of Gender in Journalism and Media Education and Training found out that sexual harassment is rife in tertiary institutions. Of the 25 institutions audited in Southern Africa 11 (44%) have sexual harassment policies while 56% do not. Click here to read more.

Source: GL Opinion and Commentary Service


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