What you need to know:
- More boys seem to be intent on the errant behaviour than girls.
- As the fires and criminal attacks rage, the government should not heap blame on school administrators.
That more than 30 schools so far have gone up in flames this term is not a mere statistic. Whatever the perceived cause of these fires, it is bound to compound the already tottering economic situation the parents find themselves in. These fires are an off-shoot of the psychosocial effects of the coronavirus pandemic. Where did the rain start beating us?
In March 2020, the education system in Kenya went into a total lockdown. It was a measure meant to prevent the spread of Covid-19 among the schoolgoing children. However, it disenfranchised learners from their normal structured disciplined regime.
Let loose, learners found a new space for unchecked freedoms. Their lengthy absence from schools acted to decondition them from the controls of discipline that they are used to. This is because at their age, schools play an almost sole role for the training and containment of the learners’ behaviour.
To use the analogy of dogs; when a dog is left to its own dictates, it is deconditioned. Away from home and the controls of the owner, it becomes wild and disoriented. The more it stays away from the control of its owner, the more feral it becomes. On chance return to the home it knew, it will exhibit wild behaviour like aggressiveness, chasing domestic fowls to attacking them.
The worst would be when the owner makes as if to attack it, the dog can bare its teeth and even attack. Only if the owner uses soft tactics can the dog cool down over time. This is the process of reconditioning. Re-domesticating the dog requires a tactical approach.
Learners have been away from school for a long time. They had forgotten about the discipline regime. Interestingly, a majority of the schools that have fallen victim to the fires are boys’ schools.
More boys seem to be intent on the errant behaviour than girls. These observations should lead psychologists to draw proper conclusions and consequently design appropriate corrective measures to re-track our learners back to normalcy.
As the fires and criminal attacks rage, the government should not heap blame on school administrators. This only amounts to escapism from its role as the caretaker of the welfare of its citizens besides helping to validate the learners’ escapist claims of administrators’ high handedness.
Instead, the government should have deployed counselling psychologists to the vulnerable learning institutions. Such cases point to a deeper societal malaise triggered by the coronavirus pandemic and exacerbated by the sudden downturn of the economic fortunes as well as social constraints.
All stakeholders should be called upon and duly engaged in efforts to help learners settle down for their studies and for the good of the society. And as we address the issue, let us target to vanguish the evil as we reclaim the sinner.
Jared Kebaso, Nakuru