LAST week I raised the subject of discipline or rather the lack of it in our schools. I pointed out that schools should make an effort to discipline errant students instead of just resorting to expelling them for every single misdemeanour.
In an attempt to further expound on this topic, I wish to start by categorically stressing that a school is not just an academic institution but more importantly a socialising institution charged with not just academic dispensation but also the transmission and promotion of moral uprightness.
Again in this light we need to appreciate the undeniable fact that without discipline nothing much can be achieved in life. Even organised crime around the world survives on high levels of discipline!
Therefore when a school fails to instil discipline in its students then such a school is nothing but a disservice to society. If at all we are to nurture a responsible citizenry to steer this country ahead then such schools must be identified and helped to get back on track.
Teachers charged with ensuring (and enforcing) discipline in schools must remember that students at the secondary level are at an adolescent stage of their life and need maximum guidance in order to out grow the stage without so many immoral scars.
Many at this stage choose to experiment with alcohol, drugs, cigarette smoking, and unclear sexual relationships (e.g. involvement with sugar daddies). They are usually trying to create for themselves an identity and will do this either positively or negatively.
By failing to discipline and simply expel a school only manages to export one spoilt child to another. In a new school, such a student will be assumed to be innocent until he starts revealing his true colours.
Because of this dysfunctional mechanism you find a spoilt child going through very many schools without any chance to reform and mature.
I have noticed a pattern where such schools keep on exchanging unruly students. For example a student expelled from Alliance High School will probably head to APRED Ndera then to King David, thereafter moving to ESSA Nyarugunga before moving to Martyrs Secondary School, Remera.
He will eventually show up at Kabuga High School for the final year. After failing national exams such a student is likely to resort to the private candidates’ scheme.
A scheme that is so abused in my opinion. These schools are fond of expelling more than 20 students at the end of each academic year for indiscipline.
Interestingly, the parents or guardians of such children can hardly notice that their child’s discipline is unbecoming. Some of them even continue to think that their children are innocent and will not hesitate to pay school fees to each new school the son/daughter moves to.
The above schools have turned into accomplices in this viscous cycle of indiscipline for not bothering to check out the background of the students they admit. Since they are only interested in the school fees this student is going to pay, they fail to notice that he is even present a forged report card.
Actually these days it is common for me to meet a student and I have to ask for his name and which school he/she is now attending. A school should only expel a student under extreme circumstances and I would prefer that the parent/guardian is invited to the school and acquainted with the gravity of their child’s sins before an expulsion can be put in effect.
Schools should not run away from chasing away indisciplined students as a way of instilling discipline.
These children need an academic and moral input and this is what they pay for when they join the school. It is unfair to just toss them around and have them tour all the schools in the city. Let us give them another chance and try to discipline them. In future they (like me) will be very thankful.