Whoever said education is the key to good life should have taken some time to explain to us what he or she really meant.
Last week, I walked to the bus stop as early as 4.30am as I had to get to the other side of town in time to run my errands.
Komayole is far from town, you know. As I walked to the bus stop, I kept looking back just to ensure no one was behind me, with the insecurity in our city, you cannot afford to walk like you own the world, especially when the sun has gone down.
The number of children going to school at that hour caught my attention.
Children were all over the place rushing to catch a matatu to school. School buses were hooting and children could be heard screaming in protest, probably they were still too sleepy to wake up and go to school.
A lot of questions ran through my mind. Why would parents release their children at this hour in the name of education? What time do our schools start their lessons?
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What do these children learn such that they have to wake up so early to go to school? Why do parents take their children to schools that are more than 10km away from home putting them at risk as they commute to school?
According to the Kenyan curriculum, the first major exam is done eight years after one joins primary school. As much as the early bird catches the worm, we all know that birds cannot live on worms, there are other things to feed on and still remain alive and kicking. If all the birds rush for worms, which ones will eat the cereals and other insects? Worms are not every bird’s delicacy!
You cannot be subjecting a class two pupil to waking up at 4am just to prepare them for the Kenya Certificate of Primary Education, which is six years away. These same children who are forced to wake up at 4am get back home at around 6.30pm because of traffic.
As soon as they get home, piled with homework from all the subjects, all they can do is dig into their books, they barely have time to rest. By the time they are done with their homework, it is already past 10pm. They then rush through dinner and go to bed. Before they know it, it's already morning and they have to wake up and do it all over again.
Saturdays are not any different because these same parents have enrolled their children for weekend tuition. They spend the better part of their day in books. When Sunday comes, they have to rise up early and go to church after which they are taken out, it is family day you know.
They are expected to enjoy the games and running up and down, they are children anyway, they will never say no. Evening comes and they are too tired to do anything apart from go to sleep. When Monday comes, the whole cycle is repeated!
Just when do we want our children to rest? We are bringing up robots, people who will do things because they are supposed to do them, not because they want to. We kill their talent at a tender age and try to shape their lives towards one same direction which isn’t any better.
Children are supposed to be treated as such, it’s the only way they can enjoy their childhood. We must keep in mind that a child educated only in school is an uneducated child.