It is said to be the foundation of all success and I cannot agree more. Discipline is not something to play around with especially in our school system. Without discipline all our efforts are in vain.
That was my rallying point last Sunday when I appeared on the Crossfire Talk show hosted by Contact FM. As a teacher, I was tasked to give my opinion on the controversial news that there were considerations to have condoms distributed in schools in order to curb the prevalence of teen pregnancies and spread of Sexually Transmitted Diseases.
The good thing is that the Ministry of Health had already pronounced it’s stand on the issue by insisting that sexual reproductive health in schools was the best option and not direct distribution of the condoms in secondary schools and I agree with them.
Those who were arguing for condoms to be distributed insist that the reality is that school children are engaging in sexual relations and that we ought to make it safer for them by offering them condoms. What they do not mention is how this reality comes about.
This so-called reality is nothing but a clear case of discipline going out of hand and those concerned would be running away from their responsibility by setting their traps further in. We ought to continue dealing with problems like these at their root and not at the top when all you have are mere symptoms.
He who fights and runs away, lives to fight another day. Therefore, we are better off continuing the good fight by inculcating moral discipline in our children not only at school but at home so that we do not end up extending the fight elsewhere. A school is an institution meant to impart skills, attitudes and knowledge and not some kind of brothel that facilitates the ill morals of some.
Students are not likely to be having these sexual relations while on the school campus. This means that those engaged in these acts are aware that schools do not tolerate these practices so they do it away from school probably during the holidays.
The school should however have sex education classes on a regular and intensive basis to continue drumming it in the heads of students that some things are right and others are wrong at certain ages. School going children are quite impressionable and I believe we can make a difference if we are committed.
Regular checkups to find pregnant students should be held in schools and those found to engage in any sexual relationships must not be let off just like that. We can also have adolescent reproductive health centres in different areas where all youth can go for counselling, treatment and given free condoms.
Lodges where some of these sexual relationships with students occur must not condone these crimes by allowing young girls to be exploited on their premises. Entertainment places must also have age restrictions enforced by probably asking for identification of those who want to enter.
Parents, teachers and all other stakeholders must play their part. They should ensure that Rwanda’s school system produces well-disciplined individuals instead of looking at ways to facilitate indiscipline in the name of providing safety for those engaging in unacceptable sexual relationships.
As one person pointed out during the show, we need to make condoms available for those who need them and not distributing them to all secondary students. It can actually be compared to a situation where the state fails to provide security and instead opts to hand out guns to civilians so that they can defend themselves. The state would be running away from its key role.
Therefore as teachers, school administrators and more importantly parents, we should not even think about running away from our duty of ensuring that those under us are disciplined. We should fight on and not surrender.
The author is an educationalist based in KigaliFollow https://twitter.com/ssojo81