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Published:Sunday | January 3, 2016 | 1:00 AM
Ronald Thwaites: Wherever a teacher feels that he is vulnerable, I urge them to get in touch with us.

The usually vocal Education Minister Ronald Thwaites was left with mouth agape at news that some schoolgirls are sending explicit photographs of themselves to male teachers in a bid to enter into sexual relationships with the men.

"I am shocked! It's the first I am hearing about this situation. It is a great pity that the advantages of technology are being undermined and taken to this level," Thwaites told The Sunday Gleaner.

"But having the permission of parents for these messaging groups is a safeguard that I am encouraging teachers to take," added Thwaites, in reference to the fact that many of the girls are contacting the male teachers through online study groups created on WhatsApp Messenger and other social-media platforms.

According to Thwaites, he is also concerned over news that some dedicated male teachers are leaving the classrooms because of the actions of the girls, when the system so badly needs positive male role models.

The education minister said it was a pity that the male teachers did not seek the intervention of his ministry before resigning.

"Wherever a teacher feels that he is vulnerable, I urge them to get in touch with us. It would not be considered an admission of anything, but rather a caution for the benefit of the students," argued Thwaites.

He said he still believed that "sunlight is the best disinfectant", and urged the affected teachers to report such matters to the schools' administrations as well as the ministry.