WHEN SCHOOLING GOES WRONG


Schooling is an aspect of education. A form of instruction which takes place mostly in an organized setting. Usually under the guidance of the teacher, following laid down rules and regulations as spelt out in the curriculum document. As most countries will agree; the product of the school must be useful to himself and the society in which he lives. Hence, the quest for the formal aspect of education.

In an ever changing and dynamic society inherent with varying challenges, the question the school need answer is; how well does it prepare the recipients of education for the challenges of the society? Another significant question worth asking is the place of moral values, the definition of morality has evolved over times, with terms like modernization taking a vital place in our moral concepts.

The place for civil obedience and respect can easily be questionable. No doubt the increase in social vices. It is high time the school ponders on where it is getting it wrong. How many of the schools’ product fits perfectly in the larger society, yet as generally agreed upon; the school should prepare all for the larger society. The school itself been a vital entity in the society needs a structure, a framework that synergizes perfectly with the aspirations of the host community and that of the larger society.

In developing countries, school is fast becoming a source of income, a business entity. The school owners or administrators know little or nothing about school running. Those in charge of molding lives are unconsciously becoming life destroyers. The destiny of a child is now lying fallow, hence solace is found on readily available remedies, for the home is nowhere to be found. Most homes are not homes at all, they are buildings with individuals who know little or nothing about each other living together. They only bear name tags attributable to roles they are expected to perform which are often times not performed.

The job of parenting is now left with the school. The teacher no wonder, he is also called a loco-parentis. A transitional parents, an individual that knows the child more than the family. Many children in the school only see their parents by luck, some through social media platforms, others via mental hallucination. For those who may have access to the phone, they only hear the voice of their parents, i.e. daddy or mummy when he or she is less busy and decides to call the child(ren). The child is placed in care of a nanny, a less privileged individual called house-help or left to live with extended family members. The future of the child is gradually being rewritten, learning to grow in a future unknown, which he or she never bargained for.

Parents in above category often present a defensive argument; we (father and mother) are working round the clock to secure the future of our child(ren), we ensure that our child(ren) get(s) the best education, read(s) the best books, visit(s) the best place and what have you. But the sincere question they failed to answer is that of family time. Where is the mother when the girl child is saddled with her first experience of blood gushing, who was the “good samaritan” that assisted her? And to the father, how well does he know his boy, or girl child as the case may be. What recent skill did he or she learn at school? These and many more probing questions are never answered.

Then, the defence argument is presented once more; “we know the job we do require more of our attention, that is why we placed our child(ren) in a boarding school.” With an element of pride, he or she may say; “in fact according to the records, the school was ranked the best in child monitoring and child mentorship, with excellent school counsellors and what have you.” All justifications for failing to take charge of expected roles.

This is not to say the idea of a boarding school system is bad, however, the argument here should be with respect to the sincerity of the clients of the boarding school. How often do these “busy parents” check on their child(ren)? Do they visit them on open days? Not to ask if they know the names of their child(ren)’s’ teachers. What about the friends the child(ren) keeps? The list is endless and numerous. All these gone wrong due to the neglect of moral values, social responsibility and modernization. Thus, all these tasks are left under the tutelage of the teacher as if he or she has no family to guide.

Discussing with pre-elementary, crèche, kindergarten, or primary teachers and school owners, it is so clear from their responses that parents feel they can make the school do their parenting jobs for them. All it requires is payments and the school gets the job done for them. In one of the chats with a school owner who runs a primary cum kindergarten, the proprietor was in a state of lacuna when a parent pleaded for an additional time extension for picking the child in the crèche class. According to the school owner, the crèche session closes as early as possible, but due to the nature of the jobs of most “busy parents” the school reached a compromise to keep the pupils for additional two hours after stipulated close time. Imagine keeping a baby till 4:00pm in the crèche. But these extra-ordinarily busy parent wants the school to keep the baby till 6:00pm, all in the name of busy business.

In the educational enterprise, key stakeholders sometimes pay lip service to vital aspects and issues. When teachers make recommendations on means to improve the qualities of the school system, they are quickly shun off the stage. An innovative teacher is often time seen as demanding for too much in most business cum profit oriented schools. When schools make rules, teachers ensure conformity. However when issues regarding discipline and sometimes sanctions against prompt fee paying students cum parents emerge, teachers’ opinions are in most cases disregarded, it thus becomes a management issue, with little or no deterrent issued

The solutions to above identified pitfalls are not far-fetched. Sincerity of purpose, dedication to service are all important. When each and every one is involved in social re-orientation, then we are a step closer to solving our emerged, emerging and envisaged problems. By social re-orientation, ideas worth sharing are promoted, those needing visitation are revised, and those requiring extinction are discarded, until then we are far from getting back  our long lost moral values and spirit of social responsibility.

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