“The survey specifically aims at collecting a comprehensive data on the practice, with a view to submitting a report on the findings to the Parliamentary Oversight Committee on Human Rights”, he said, adding that once completed their findings would also be sent to the Attorney General and Minister of Justice and the Ministry of Education Science and Technology for a review of laws on sexual offences against women and girls in learning institutions in the country.
Giving background to their hypothesis for the study the rights activist noted that there were wide spread reports of teachers and lecturers engaging in what he called ‘sextortion’, the practice of asking female students for sex in return for grades, he explained.
He added that almost all the learning institutions strongly believed that the act had undermined the opportunity of acquiring quality education by female students, noting that a fair grade system would demonstrate their competence in future.
According to him, the Sexual offences act of 2012 prohibits sexual violence against women and girls, but not the practice of teachers and lecturers engaging in or soliciting sex from female students for grades, as there were no accurate data on the prevalence of the practice in various learning institutions.
“My institution has an agreement with the Canadian Fund for Local Initiative for the implementation of a six-month project, coupled with the on-going survey in the country. We have set up hotlines for female students to call or send SMSes to complain of sexual harassment and abuse”, he said.
He intimated that CARL had also embarked on jingle production to convey key messages against the practice and at the same time raise advocacy to have sexual offence laws criminalized. He said that way teachers and lecturers engaged in such uncivilized act would face the consequences of their actions.
Moses Massa further stated that they believed that the violation of women and girls’ rights were common occurrences across various educational institutions, claiming that the act was on the increase.
He expressed hope that various human rights organisations would initiative efficient and effective policies and programmes geared towards supporting female students and promoting prevention of sexual harassment generally.