The Convolutions of the Concept of Age of Consent amongst Primary School Teachers in Zimbabwe

The Convolutions of the Concept of Age of Consent amongst Primary School Teachers in Zimbabwe
Agnes Pakombwele, Kwashirai Zvokuomba
International Journal of Educational Development in Africa, 30 August 2022; 7(1)
The world over the age of consent is used as a child empowerment and protective tool. It has been argued that the age of consent supports teenagers as they negotiate the most profound aspect of childhood transition into adulthood. During this period, children and teenagers face abuse, bodily violence and exploitation. The study sought to analyse the perceptions and views of primary school teachers about age of consent within the educational setting. The study was guided by the interpretivist philosophy and was methodologically underpinned by the qualitative research design, particularly regarding data, which was collected utilising in-depth interviews and focus group discussions to solicit research participants’ opinions, feelings, and thoughts that represent their world views. The study established that teachers had little knowledge about the age of consent due to misrepresentation in the legal frameworks and inconsistencies in the law on the matter.  In addition, customary, cultural, and religious practices remain “blind” in the way they approach children’s rights issues. Thus, the article advocates for a child-centred framework when dealing with issues that affect the well-being of children as a way of demystifying the age of consent in the educational sector, which should also be informative not only to teachers but traditional leaders and legal practitioners so as to have a shared understanding of the concept.  It is recommended that the age of consent should be the same for both boys and girls just as the age of majority, which is at 18 years.

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