FINALLY the 2010 academic year started at the beginning of this week after what was a definitely a very long holiday break.
The usually long end of year holiday was further extended by a month to allow the completion of training in English language to both primary and secondary school teachers across the country.
This first term of the academic year is however going to be almost a month shorter than usual. This single fact has got far reaching implications that should not be ignored by any stakeholder in the education sector. Students, teachers and even the parents need to note this very seriously.
What all this means is that time is not going to be a friend to anyone in the education sector as they go about the first term of the academic year.
The term has been designated a paltry nine weeks. This is very little time and yet teachers and students will have a lot of work to do in covering the syllabi.
The tendency for students to delay at home when schools reopen should not be tolerated at all this time. After a holiday of three months, students really have no convincing reason to stay at home even for an extra day.
Students should realise that with such a short term, the moment they report to school serious work kicks off immediately.
There is no time to waste indulging in stale holiday tales about music concerts, African cup of nations and who visited who.
To ensure smooth and timely running of school programmes, parents should also play their role by ensuring that they send their children to school with all the necessary requirements and this basically includes paying up all the school fees.
The teachers on the other hand ought to kick off with serious teaching. There is no point in waiting for the laggards to remember that they should be at school.
Due to the brief nature of this term, I suggest that administrators of boarding schools should try to curb the habit of freely giving permission to students to home go over flimsy reasons.
This is a short term and the students need to stay at school in order to utilise the time they have fully.
The administrators should however make sure that students do not bring any contraband things to school. Alcohol, cigarettes, other illegal drugs and the number one student distracter, the mobile phone should not be allowed in school no matter what.
Any student who shows up very late this term must not be allowed in school unless they have a sound reason to explain away the delay. Learners need to learn to take their education more seriously.
I must commend the Ministry of Education inspectors who did a great job of inspecting several schools during the holiday to make sure they were in good condition.
The unarticulated objective of these inspectors was to ensure that schools would be ready for serious business from the first day of the term.
After a holiday of three months, it is quite unrealistic to hear of schools that have unpaid teachers. With such a short term it is indeed academic suicide to kick off the term with extremely demoralised teachers because of unpaid salaries.
The tendency for school owners not to plan for teacher’s salaries is something that I will discuss on another day in this column.
It is always a sign of ingenuity when one utilises scarce resources in a meaningful way. This term is very short and that makes time a very scare commodity that must be cherished.
Therefore teachers and students should make an effort to deal with the problems of absenteeism in order for their academic objectives to be met.
The extension of the holiday was necessary but it has created another challenge of scarcity of time. I however know for a fact that this challenge can be blurred by hard work.