Minister of General Education Denis Wanchinga says Zambia is under extreme moral decay.
He was reacting to a disturbing video which was taken by one of the pupils at Chengelo Christian Boarding School in Mkushi, where two black boys were filmed taking turns punching, slapping and kicking their white hostel-mate, in a strange case of High School bullying.
In the video, the two boys are heard using “F” words as they warn the victim to stay away from their girlfriend and not to talk to any of the people they talk to at the campus.
The victim is heard pleading innocent and begging for forgiveness, but the aggressors continue punching and insulting the victim in full view of other pupils.
A source at Chengelo school told News Diggers! that the bullies were identified as Mwila Hara and Jabulani Nhliziyo, while the victim was named as Gawen Powell.
But in an interview today, Dr Wachinga observed that morality was supposed to begin in homes.
“Of course the Chengelo bullying of a pupil by two other pupils and the gang raping of a 16-year-old pupil by other male pupils are a school issues as they happened at school premises, however these are incidents that have symptoms and the sooner we locate their root cause, the better for our country. In as much as these children are in school, they are coming from homes as well as churches were morality should be center stage.”
Asked if government would heed to calls by some stakeholders to reintroduce corporal punishment in schools, Dr Wachinga asked Minister of Religious Affairs and National Guidance Godfridah Sumaili to study the causes of moral decay before a decision could be arrived at.
“Let government put up a study to understand these sudden changes in our country’s moral standard, through the Ministry of Religious Affairs and National Guidance. Only then will my ministry take a mandate and find a way forward on how on whether to introduce corporal punishment for unruly pupils or not, because some of these incidents that our pupils are manifesting now go beyond corporal punishment,” Dr Wachinga said.
He observed that Zambia was going through a phase of moral decay that needed a collective approach to handle.
“It is not about what is happening in schools but what is happening in the country at large. Let us first of all establish where the problem is then from there, we can address the issues because you remember some time ago, there was a report of a sex party involving over 70 children that incident did not happen in school or during school time and just yesterday there was a story in the Zambia Daily Mail about sex rings that were happening within Lusaka involving students from Evelyn Hone College. These incidents are not happening in schools, so how do people expect authorities to take charge?” wondered Dr Wachinga.
“The sex rings involving young girls from Evelyn Hone College, who among them are girls as young as 19, maybe a case of poverty which is a responsibility of the Ministry of Community Development while the bigger part is of course the responsibility of the Ministry of Religious Affairs who are supposed to ensure that these children conduct themselves in a morally upright manner even before they can come to school.”