“Muuuum... si you pay for me tuition, all my friends are going,” this is the request my almost eight year old daughter Tasha has been bombarding me with almost every day since schools closed for the August holiday.
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And I have been adamant that I will not pay for her. Why? I mean, the poor girl is just in Class One and there is no solid reason why a child her age should extend school beyond the Ministry of Education stipulated dates. But I understand where the pressure is coming from.
Almost all children – primary and secondary - in the estate have been enrolled in some form of tuition. Every morning, as I walk past the gate on my way to work, I meet with several of these innocent looking children with their humongous bags headed to various learning centers for that extra coaching.
Save for class eights and Form Fours who need extra tuition (which the government does also not approve of) in readiness for the final exams, there is no reason why the rest of the children should be attending extra remedial classes.
The Ministry of Education has stated clearly children should not be subjected to holiday tuition of whatever nature because holidays are a time to rest.
But parents are going against this directive because of pressure to keep up with the Jonesses.
I mean, if the Kamaus, Omondis, Cheronos, Wafulas are taking their children to school, it is most likely that the Mwakios will also be compelled to do the same lest their children perform poorly and end up as losers in life.
But in as much as we all want our children to excel in academics and expose them to the best opportunities, sometimes in that pursuit, we end up putting undue pressure on them.
Holidays are a time for the children to play and rest in readiness for another season of intense learning and education experts agree that children who are allowed to play during that season perform better than those who were grounded.
If you are a parent and feel compelled to engage your children in a more productive manner, rather than enroll them for more grilling, why not engage them in a fun packed recreational programme.
If you look around from social media to the churches you will discover several centers that offer fun filled activities that keep the children busy and engaged in a creative way that stimulate their minds.
From football, basketball, piano, to tennis, karate, scrabble to chess lessons, the children are also empowered on various life skills like first aid and swimming lessons.
If you cannot afford those programmes, if you are lucky your mother is still around, it is better to take the children to their grandmother for a visit upcountry for a week or two.
Parents let’s stop this needless pressure and allow our children time to just be children and play. We were also allowed that and we turned out OK. Let the children be.