During my days as a primary school pupil, I always craved for the last day of the term. Life in a boarding school meant that on that day, we would get the chance to return to our homes after months at school.
We always woke up early in the morning and put all our belongings outside. Once your parent showed up, you would go to your class and pick your report card then rush to put your property in the car.
The ride back home would always be great if and only if you had performed well. A poor performance meant that you would be rebuked all the way home.
For those with good reports the talk would be about how your brothers and sisters are doing and any new developments both at home and at school.
Personally, whenever I got home from school, the first thing I would do was to take a walk around the house. Like a prospective buyer of the house, I would carefully lookout for any changes to my treasured home.
The fact that the school term would last close to three months meant that I always expected something to have changed.
A new coat of paint, new flowers, a new electrical appliance or anything that I had not left behind before going to school.
The question today is not what a student should expect when they reach home for holidays but instead, what to expect when they return to school early next year.
The fact that the third term holiday is a little longer than the rest implies that a change is definitely expected. In Europe most road and construction work is done at night.
This is not because they can afford to pay their electricity bills but more to the fact that at night there is less traffic and so a good job can be done with less interruption.
In the same spirit, school authorities ought to take advantage of the long holidays to do major repair works at the school without any disturbance from the naughty ones.
Like anything in service, schools also do suffer from wear and tear and therefore it is only right and fitting if some repair is done to the tired structures that make up the school.
For starters you can have the buildings painted to give the school a fresh look. It is common for students to leave lots of graffiti on the walls especially at the end of the school year.
You all know those stupid ‘Never forget x” messages scribbled at the back of the classroom walls. Replacement of broken widow panes can also be done during this long holiday.
Some of the doors will have lost their locks due to some unruly students and they too need to be replaced so that new students don’t get to think negatively of their new school.
School furniture is always the worst hit by wear and tear or precisely students’ unruly behaviour. Some students intentionally break the desks as they summarise the year.
Major furniture repairs should be done now because the desks will certainly be needed once the new school term opens.
The sports department should not be left out as well. Why not get some manure for the field to speed up the replacement of the grass lost especially at the goal keeper’s area?
In case a school has not been having a football pitch, this is the best time to prepare one. Buy land and hire labourers to clear it and prepare it as a sports facility. Repairs should not be limited to buildings only.
Other sectors like staffing and scholastic materials should also be given some attention. Since many teachers look at the teaching profession as a stepping stone for better jobs, some will not return for the New Year.
Now is the time to shop around for replacements. In a similar way, school authorities need to utilise this time of the year to shop for textbooks, laboratory chemicals and equipment and any other things that will be needed when the new school year begins.
Just like I always looked forward to finding an improved home after months at school, I pray that school authorities do something this holiday to improve their schools.
Paint the buildings, replace broken windows and broken furniture, restock the library, and even plant new flowers and grass. This way the school will have new lease of life for the year 2008.