The beginning of the year marks the most important movement and that is back to school. The school fees is done, new uniforms if required are ready and books are in the new bag too. The private schools are in their second term and the national schools are starting their academic year. In either case, back to school can mean a lot of pressure for both student and parent or guardian.
The student is worried about unfinished holiday homework. The parent is worried about traffic and transport issues. The teacher is worried about new students. This interesting situation remains unique in experience from person to person. While the academic performance is important to success in life, there is more that is key to a fulfilling career.
According to a World Bank report released on 26th September 2017, “millions of young students in low and middle-income countries face the prospect of lost opportunity and lower wages in later life because their primary and secondary schools are failing to educate them to succeed in life.”
It goes on to say, “according to the report, when third grade students in Kenya, Tanzania, and Uganda were asked recently to read a sentence such as “The name of the dog is Puppy” in English or Kiswahili, three-quarters did not understand what it said.”
Bringing in ICT (information technology) into the classrooms can only useful if teachers are trained and parents are also involved. You cannot have a student use the devices and only to return home to paper and pen and find a gap. It is therefore necessary to involve all stakeholders for the greater good, which is a brilliant education. The main objective of a good education is that a child is prepared for his work life, whether employed or becoming an entrepreneur.
This definitely requires a closer look at the extra curricular activities schools offer. Every national school in the country must have the basics no matter what, in both primary and secondary. These include, a school band, a full music room, art competitions, football pitches, basketball courts, athletic fields and swimming. These basics can gear them up to face any private school standards should the income allow them to move. Having a theatre in the school will give them the opportunity for drama, acting, debate and elocution.
Each school must have an up-to-date IT facility and chemistry lab. While the Science Congress fairs are common with the National Schools, there needs much improvement for resources.
Let the children compete across schools with the sports championships because this will prepare them for the big leagues of life ahead and maybe a professional career in sports. In fact this is a perfect platform for the Government to prepare its future Olympians. That way the children have an income and the basic education should they retire in their mid-30s from the sports career.
Playing sports reduces anxiety and helps children battling with depression. Even music is known to be therapeutic for children, so let their arts and crafts shine.
Parents can only provide so much, thus it is up to the Government and the schools to give the children a well rounded education that can prepare them for life.