Good news and bad news

Today I have some good news and some bad news. I wonder which one you would prefer to read about first? Since I heard no response, I will take a pick and start with the bad news.

Today I have some good news and some bad news. I wonder which one you would prefer to read about first? Since I heard no response, I will take a pick and start with the bad news.

A few days back I read some rather disturbing news in the Kenyan press. There was a very sad story of two girls who committed suicide because they failed to score their anticipated grades in the Kenya Certificate of Primary Education examinations. As if that was not bad enough, a headmaster at a primary school that performed poorly also committed suicide after being blamed by parents for the poor performance of the school.

I studied in an environment where the pressure to succeed at national exams was so high however, I never in my life thought I would read of young children taking their own lives because of poor academic performance. The challenges of our exam based education system are clearly highlighted by this event. Someday I will talk about how this pressure to succeed at all costs can be tempered.

The news from Kenya was indeed shocking but I found some bad news closer to my habitat as well. Ecole Secondaire de Hotelerie et Tourisme de Gasogi in Ndera, Gasabo District, was closed due to poor hygiene and lack of discipline. Now this is the bad news that I found rather interesting.

It is sad that the school was closed but I find it interesting that the city authorities have built a reputation of ensuring hygiene. How then do we get to have a school with such a flamboyant title being closed for poor hygiene in a city where cleanliness is all that visitors talk about?

The other thing I found interesting was the fact that lack of discipline was the other reason cited for closure of the school. I always like it when a whip is cracked over discipline. In the story, The New Times quoted Marie Louise Uwimana, the Vice Mayor of Gasabo in charge of social affairs, complaining about the drunken students at the school.

I did not pay much attention to other details of hygiene and the lack of scholastic materials but, I was moved by the discipline factor. It is good to see that the district officials take discipline as an important issue. Drunkenness is not good for any academic establishment and dealing with it squarely is one-step in the right direction.

Many people have complained about students being found in bars and nightclubs -drinking all sorts of liquor without a care in the world. However, it is time for bars and nightclubs to seriously consider checking the IDs of those they suspect to be underage. It is their responsibility.

As for the bar patrons, it is not a lovely sight sharing your table with kids young enough to be your own.

To crown it all, the Tuesday edition of The New Times had a story about the government’s plans to increase the salary of civil servants. As I read deeper into the story, I was pleased to see that teachers were included in this wonderful piece of news.

Teachers are set to enjoy a 50 per cent salary increment over the next six years as announced by the Minister of Public Service and Labour, Anastase Murekezi. The increments take effect this month.

Isn’t this the best news ever, for my fellow teachers? What a great time to be a teacher. More importantly, the salary increase will further help Rwanda to attract better teachers from the region. This will surely go a long way in helping the country achieve its Vision 2020 goals on education.