New Era (Windhoek)

31 August 2011

Namibia: Sex for Marks

Photo: Commonwealth Network
Director of the Anti-Corruption Commission of Namibia, Paulus Noa.

Windhoek — There are reports that some lewd lecturers at the University of Namibia solicit sex from female students in exchange for higher marks to enable the students to pass exams.

This came to light yesterday when the Deputy Minister of Education, Dr David Namwandi, met with Unam Students' Representative Council (SRC) at the Unam main campus.

The deputy minister yesterday compiled a list of some of the culprit lecturers who stand accused of soliciting sexual favours.

A student in the SRC, who preferred to talk anonymously, said some students at campus have fallen victim to decadent and lewd male lecturers who demand sex in exchange for higher marks.

This unethical practice on campus is so rife that some students have named the practice, 'Sexually Transmitted Marks (STMs)'.

Hundreds of secondary school children drop out of school each year after falling pregnant but at this stage it is not known how many Unam students have been impregnated by their lecturers.

"I am close to many of these victims of Sexually Transmitted Marks. These students are struggling with marks to qualify for exams and many enter the exams with lower marks. So they have sex with lecturers in exchange for higher marks," explained the student..

She cited an incident, where a certain victim had 58 for Continuous Assessment (CA) but she strangely excelled in her examinations with a 98 percent pass rate.

"I asked her how she did it to pass so well. She told me all she had to do was say 'Yes'," according to the same source.

It is however, not clear whether the sex victims are both male and female, but Unam students maintained that they know of females.

Students also reported to Namwandi that many lecturers commit most of their productive time on private business instead of teaching.

"We have lecturers here, for example psychologists and lawyers who miss classes and go and do their private work. At the end of the day, we end up failing," lamented one of the students.

Meanwhile, Unam SRC President, Francine Muyumba, told Namwandi and his team, that some lecturers were "untouchable".

"It is true, these things are happening at this institution. Some are abusing students. I have letters in my office as proof," she added.

There is apparently also a certain lecturer, who often "abuses" students during lectures.

According to the SRC, he divides students into groups depending on his favourites.

"He divides them, some he calls them, "rotten potatoes," according to Muyumba.

Muyumba also told Namwandi that the SRC had initiated moves to have the lecturer moved to another faculty but his unruly behavior continued.

The same lecturer apparently brags to students he is "untouchable".

He also says he has connections in government and no one can "touch" him.

"Enough is enough, Dr Namwandi, if you want his name I will give it to you now," Muyumba charged.

The deputy minister demanded answers from the SRC on allegations that some lazy students are paying lecturers and other individuals to do their assignments for them.

For a moment, the student representatives paused without any word.

Namwandi chipped in: "I know you are hiding.

"How can you not know such things? Did you not read the newspapers that some students at Unam, Poly, IUM and other private universities are doing it?" he asked.

A student answered that this practice exists in academia.

He said notices advertising such businesses are pasted everywhere.

"If you see a notice board even at Shoprite, then you will realise the extent of the problem.

"We want the Anti-Corruption Commission to come at the center of external examination," a student suggested to the deputy minister

Other students blatantly refused to comment on the matter despite Namwandi's continuous questioning.

Namwandi warned students that such short cuts would not be tolerated as they dilute the country's education system.

"Go and tell your friends that we are coming. I have already informed Paulus Noah (the ACC director) to investigate these types of illicit activities.

"If you get your qualifications through someone, you have wasted your time and your parents'.

"As a result you will add to the skyrocketing high number of unemployment, because you won't be able to defend yourself in interviews," he warned.

He urged students to report such cases saying their identify would be kept confidential to shield them from any reprisals.

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