Sex for grades saga: We urge caution!

There has been public outburst during the week following the airing of the “Sex for grades” exposé involving a professor and a lecturer at the University of Ghana, Legon in Accra.

The outburst though understandable, has also brought out revelations that are unknown until the two university dons were caught on tape by the BBC media outlet.

Indeed, the ongoing discussions clearly show that the issue of sexual harassment is becoming more visible on university campuses that need urgent attention to address.

It is, for this reason that we urge caution in the way and manner the discussions are being carried out. In fact, since the exposé, we have heard very sensational and to some extent, bizarre stories which many distract out attention from the real issues.

The main issue for us is, how do we address the problem confronting us today?

Everyone is already aware that “sex for grades” or “sexually transmitted grades” has been with us for generations.

What is important now is, how to address the involvement of senior faculty members in perpetrating sexual harassment in the institutions of higher learning in the country?

In fact, it is, no longer in doubt that in most universities, lecturers request the express sexual attention of female students in particular, as a pre-condition for passing their examinations.

Failure to do so, can lead to failure of the student in the lecturer’s course and most often, it is male lecturers who indulge in these acts against vulnerable students.

So, it is the point of the Ghanaian Times that, pragmatic solutions are found to deal with the fraudulent practices being carried out by lecturers on university campuses.

Sadly, we do not have all the answers but we can recommend that among others, lecturers should be forbidden from marking the scripts of their student as the first step.

In addition, an independent body should be established in a manner that will ensure that students freely report such incidents. That is the only way to get the students to report such cases.

Up until now, many of these occurrences go unpunished and the victims left to deal with it because the perpetrators are powerful and untouchable

At this moment, the most important thing to do is to focus on instituting measures in the universities, so as to stop the perpetrators from indulging in such fraudulent acts. That is the only way to restore sanity in the higher institutions of learning in the country.

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