In recent times, the education sector as well as the family space has seen a barage of problematic issues which have perplexed, and shocked many into outrage and confusion. Children (still babies to some of us) are writing love letters, seeking to hire hotel rooms for some hours, and then to top it all the school trip that went so wrong and resulted in a viral video that should never have gone viral!
How did things get this bad?
We could go through a lot of analaysis that would only bring on a paralysis of analysis, or we could seek to outline some next steps to help us untangle the mess, right?
I choose the later, let’s start untangling this mess, here are my thoughts in a nutshell:
A. The Family: We need help in helping most families recognise and own their responsibility to the child in their care.
A nation that spends no time on developing this core unit of society will find it difficult to thrive.
Solution: Family 101 courses in schools, churches, mosques, universities, other tertiary institutions and local government councils.
We need a curriculum.
In the meantime: Parents please build a bond with your children, they need to connect with you, they need to know you love them and care for them, not just by paying their school fees and feeding them, but also by spending time and being present. These last two are so important to your child.
Make sure they get time to rest, go to bed early, talk to them about safety: body, mind and online! This is just a starting point.
B. The School: Please we need to upgrade our understanding of running educational establishments, it is not always about rules, regulations and policies, please don’t get me wrong, those are all good, but over and above these things, most importantly implementation is crucial.
How much of what we preach as policy is being run as a matter of course on the ground?
We must implement, full stop.
The safeguarding and care of the child in our settings is paramount.
Do we know what this really means?
Please start finding out.
It is great to go out on excursions but have we done any risk assessments?
Do not leave your school without it! Educate your teachers this is also important.
C. The Government: the Ministries of Education, Colleges of Education etc. Please look beyond the letter and reach to the heart of the matter.
When we assess institutions by the text and not the soul of why they exists, we are bound to miss some obvious trends that can bring the whole system tumbling down.
I am yet to see any indication that our Government approval system for schools ecompases anything over and above basic and sometimes inadequate academic standards, a burdensome list of structural requirements and a system that still greases the hands of some officials, (not all though!).
I am sorry if this sounds harsh but I have to say it as I at least see it!
If things are being done right, why are 2 year old’s still expected to write 1 to 100 in schools, some of them are approved, why do the schools run only Primary 5 classes with no Primary 6 classes for children to attend? Why are children who are just 4 years plus already in Primary one?
It is about time we cut to the chase and help our schools do better, by first cleaning house and truly restructuring the whole set up.
It is time for the three arms, the family, the school and the government to truly work together, if not for any other reason but for the good of the child.
The child must thrive not just academically but also morally, socially and ethically.
To do this the Family, Schools and Government need to work hand in hand, must they not?