As I wrote this piece, thousands of students across the country completing their national examinations. The usual euphoria of a long journey completed, goodbyes and exchanging of contacts were not missed at the different examination centres across the country.
This examination period has not been short of incidents that the media has captured—the case of the primary students who sat the wrong examination, the 50-year-old who was part of the examination fever and, most intriguing, was the confiscation of mobile phones by the State Minister for Primary and Secondary Education, Hon. DrMathias Harebamungu.
The Minister, not only confiscated the phones, but also warned that head teachers who fail to enforce discipline risked losing their jobs. When the story was posted on Facebook, one user commented saying the Minister acted like one without better things to do. This was nothing but an unfortunate misunderstanding of the Minister’s action.
The Minister clearly understands that disciplinary standards in some schools are very discouraging and those concerned are not doing enough to improve the situation. Instead of sitting in his Kacyiru office and wait for huge reports, it, sometimes ,pays off to go and assess the situation first hand.
A closer look at the article clearly proved to me that the Minister is a hands-on fellow who is very aware of the situation in schools. He pointed out that students in candidate classes should be reminded that they are not above school rules. This is a very pertinent issue since candidates have a record of being disrespectful to those in authority on the pretext that they have registered for exams and cannot be expelled.
The issue of discipline in Rwandan schools is such a huge problem, and something has to be done about it.
I totally support the Minister, for not only confiscating, but also destroying the mobile phones. School regulations do not permit students to own mobile phones while at school ,and this is something that both students and parents are aware of. However these rules shamelessly broken by so many students all over the country.
For today I will stick to the general discipline situation in schools. Schools make rules and regulations that must be followed by all students regardless of their background.
It is these rules that each student should be aware of and ready to follow or endure the punishments they prescribe.
school rules should be the ones used to expel, suspend or punish students. This way, we shall not have students going on with false claims of teachers having a vendetta against them. This is used by rogue students as a last card attempt to put the blame on teachers instead of accepting their mistakes.
This has consequently led many teachers to simply teach and care less about the discipline of their students. However, this will not help anyone as the falling levels of discipline certainly affect academic performance.
We need to take cue from the State Minister and take the issue of indiscipline by the horns. The fight should not be left to the Minister alone but head teachers, teachers, student leaders, students and, more, importantly parents, or guardians should participate in instilling discipline among students.