Shakawe — The First Lady, Ms Neo Masisi has implored Shakawe Senior School students to make their education a priority and refrain from drug and alcohol abuse, as well as early sexual debut among others.
She encouraged students to work hard at school for a better future and later leave a legacy that would be admired by many, not the legacy of drugs and HIV/AIDS.
Ms Masisi was speaking during an HIV/AIDS education road show at Shakawe Senior School on June 10.
The campaign, was held under the theme: The last Sprint Towards Ending AIDS by 2030 in Botswana.
Ms Masisi said the campaign was prompted by increasing numbers of new HIV infections and prevalence rate in the country that is ranked third in Southern Africa after Lesotho and Eswatini.
She also noted that though the fight against HIV in Botswana was intensified, it had been realised that education on the topic was not enough among adolescents and young people, hence the campaign.
Ms Masisi said adolescents and young people in Botswana were a special population, hence government had prioritised them in the fight against HIV/AIDS.
Minister of Basic Education, who is also MP for Okavango, Mr Bagalatia Arone, also emphasised the importance of education, adding that schools should have children who are eager to learn, not thieves, drug lords and alcoholics among others.
He also said it should be every parent's responsibility to take good care of their children and provide whatever the children need to avoid a situation where young school girls resort to older men for financial assistance in exchange for sexual favours.
"If the situation at home is bad and parents are not able to provide, the child should report to the guidance teacher, who will then liaise with social workers to see how they can help," said Mr Arone.
The MP also expressed disapproval of some cultural practices where upon reaching puberty,a girl child is considered an adult and parents start building her a small house at the back for her to sleep alone, which he said encouraged ill behaviour such as early sexual debut and teenage pregnancy.
On another issue, Mr Arone said poverty should not distract the less privileged, adding that the current generation of students were far much better resourced than in the past, therefore they should take advantage of that and do better academically.
One of the students, Ms Odetta Elijah said one of the major causes of teenage pregnancy and HIV infections among young people was poor parent-child communication.
She said parents hardly engaged with their children on the topic of sex.
Ms Elijah noted it was considered taboo for parents to talk to their children about sex, which she said was wrong as children could learn a lot from their parents.
<i>Source : BOPA</i>