KWEZI AND I: How a school’s demands left me sweating

I have been looking forward to sending Kwezi to school and the time has arrived. I knew about what could possibly be the range of her tuition and I figured that I was prepared, but I now realise that I wasn’t. At least not for what the education system has become.

Anyway, last week, I communicated with my school of interest and asked for the school fees structure and in passing, I asked if there was a list of requirements. Now, I need you to understand that I said ‘in passing’ because I honestly didn’t think that it would be more than three things at most. As good education, and now I realise, business oriented people, the school promptly sent me what I had requested and Lo and Behold, my eyes almost popped out of their sockets. I started sweating and I felt like my tummy was loosening up; and not in a good way. I had to calm myself down and look again.

Forget the school fees structure, the list of requirements is something that a small start-up business is made of. The list is made up of 21 items. 21! Not two, not five but 21. I saw things like 10 exercise books. What? What is a toddler going to do with 10 exercise books? Write a thesis about how to eat, poop, sleep and throw a daily tantrum? Reams of paper, file folders and many more.

This whole episode was stressful for me but it also got me thinking about whether the system these days is more about making money or providing quality education. The teachers who raised us telling us that teaching is a thankless job should come and see today’s teachers. The unfortunate thing, and this is only my opinion, the demands made by today’s schools do not match the quality of education that they provide. If you asked me, the teachers in the past were asking for way less but they were thorough and had one thing that I always wish I can see today; they were disciplinarians. Of course the change in what the education system is not entirely up to the quality of those running the schools, we as parents have a role to play in the deterioration. We insist that our children should not be touched and talked to in a particular way and right now, what most teachers are doing is enter a class, ‘teach’ and sign the attendance book, then get paid. How their students turns out when dealing with other children or even adults is not their concern.

I will be going to pay tuition for the first time next week. I cannot believe that Kwezi is soon going to be a student but I can’t help but wonder what kind of demands schools will be having when she is ready to join primary school. We are praying for better days ahead.