What you need to know:
- So what have we learnt from this unrest that had the government cave in?
- Is it true that the students demanding the break in ‘certain ways’ ?
The second half of Term Two in the basic education calendar has, begun in earnest following an unplanned week-long mid-term break that came days after secondary school headteachers asked the government to temporarily close learning institutions to avert a worsening school arson crisis in which more than 40 schools reported fires.
So what have we learnt from this unrest that had the government cave in? Is it true that the students demanding the break in ‘certain ways’ ?
The lesson to the government that must be addressed is the high number of students in classrooms. According to the Ministry of Education circular on Health and Safety Standards, a classroom should accommodate not more than 30 learners in one-seater desks or 40 in two-seater desks.
The government’s adoption of the Universal Access to Basic Education must, therefore, be supported by the right infrastructure, including enough classrooms, desks and dormitories to accommodate the high number of students.
Schools must ensure that dorms are locked at all times when learners are in class or in the playing field. Dorm door keys should be kept by the house master or mistress or the dorm prefect. Visitors are not allowed in the dorm.
Teachers should help the learners to resist peer pressure to use narcotics by closely monitoring their activities and advising on the company they should avoid. They should also acquire knowledge and understanding about drug and substance abuse, identify the symptoms and take the necessary remedial actions.
Parents must not speak ill of their children’s teacher or school in the minors’ presence. When called upon to discuss indiscipline issues about their children, let them not to be swift to defend the latter. It is their role to closely monitor businesses situated near schools.
The media can help in containing the situation by setting the agenda in their reportage. They can reinforce the adage that crime does not pay.
Mr Mjomba, educationist, PR practitioner and motivational speaker, is a podcaster with Paukwa Radio. [email protected]