During the past week, this nation has witnessed disturbing reports affecting the education sector that have left us with more questions than answers.
The reports have left those of us with a passion for education wondering when the rain started beating us. Even more disturbing is the reaction by the authorities and the public to these reports. We appear to have become a country that overreacts to situations without carefully analysing the problem and possible solutions.
The reports ranged from murder and destruction of property arising from arson in schools, as well as students being arrested in possession of drugs and alcohol. These reports indicate that we have some underlying issues affecting our schools and students that need to be handled decisively, and as soon as possible in order to clip such vices.
We need to get to the bottom of how we got ourselves in this situation where our students have become lawless and our schools turned into alcohol and drugs hubs. Society in general needs to explain how we have let the situation get out of hand to the extent that students can turn into arsonists.
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We also need answers from the government and school authorities on why students have to use uncontrolled public transports. The transporters, who are also parents, need to also explain how they are allowing unruliness from students in their vehicles.
Authorities have reacted in a disturbing way. I was disturbed by the government’s declaration that it was banning mock exams due to the disturbances in schools.
I disagree with the notion that this is the solution to the unrest that we have witnessed in our schools. Mock exams are part of the education system and we must therefore enhance it and not get rid of it. The exams are an important toll for gauging the students’ preparedness for the national examinations as well as gauge their overall performance.
Instead of thinking of how to abolish examinations that are critical to testing our students’ comprehension of what they have been taught, we need to get to the bottom of why our schools are experiencing unrest. We must enhance counseling in schools as one of the ways of establishing what is disturbing our children and leading them into the criminal path. The unrest in schools has been country wide and cannot be attributed to the mock exams only. There must be another or even more deep rooted issues that are making students react in the manner that they are. We therefore need deeper investigations into the causes of unrest in schools other than just blaming it on examinations.
Dealing with the issues that are disturbing students must start with the teachers who spend most of the time with them. The government must also work hard to ensure needs of teachers are taken care of so that they can concentrate on the students instead of spending their time agitating for better pay and allowances. But it cannot end there. Parenting is a critical component of child development. I believe a time has come for dialogue between parents, teachers and students so as to arrive at the root cause that is sparking this unrest in our schools.
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