Columnists

Ensuring learners’ success beyond festive season

Education Journey with EPHAT MUDENDA
COMPLIMENTS of the season to you all, our dear readers. It is that time of the year again when almost everyone gets into the celebratory mood that characterises this period.

For some, it is an opportunity to reflect on the successes that they have scored in the year, while for others, it is a time to be joyful simply because they have come this far.
But for those grade seven and grade nine pupils who have just been selected to Grade eight and grade 10 respectively, it is an achievement never to be forgotten throughout their lifetime. They have crossed an important bridge in their educational journey.
This calls for a celebration that shows we are really proud of our children and that we believe they will achieve much more than just passing exams in future. We need to start preparing their minds to see themselves, in the next seven, 10 or 15 years, as those professionals; teachers, engineers, doctors, lawyers, scientists, journalists, accountants, artisans, communications specialists, pilots, artists, etc., who are needed for the development of our great nation.
If you had no child who sat the grade seven or grade nine exams, it does not mean that you cannot join your neighbour in celebrating their child’s success. As parents of those who failed, congratulate children that have passed the exams, they should be thinking of how best they will help the ‘under-achievers’ to pick up the ‘broken pieces’, for it is never too late.
Expectations of children who are going to step into new grades in January vary. Therefore parents, guardians and teachers have a huge task to prepare the prospective new graders mentally, morally, financially, and otherwise.
Parents will need to pay school fees and buy books and uniforms for their schoolboys and girls, all of whom are eager to have a feel of a new academic environment. For the pupils whose new schools will require them to travel by bus or car, including those who are going to boarding schools, it would be wise for us to start planning in advance just how we will manage the finances in that area. The children’s upkeep is critical every time; wherever they are.
Teachers, as leaders in their respective institutions, should ensure that the schools are well prepared to warmly welcome the new learners. They should help them settle and acquire the best education aimed at creating productive citizens who should positively contribute towards the socio-economic development of this nation.
There should never be room for bullies in schools. These are places where everyone is supposed to acquire knowledge with a free conscience. Children must be free to mingle with everyone among their peers, as ‘equal partners’ in education, and be able to seek help from their teachers, who are their surrogate parents.
For some children, wherever intimidation, bullying and mockery rear their ugly heads, what could result might be that kind of neurosis which will negatively affect both their education and interpersonal relationships for the rest of their lives. As a result of this, their careers are bound to suffer, too.
While our children’s minds are slowly ‘graduating’ from the knowledge in their previous grade to that at the next level, it is important to make them aware that education is a prerequisite to the much-needed development of the country.
So, if they know and believe that education really matters, young people will be able to undertake this journey with determination and the seriousness that it demands. They will always have the support of various stakeholders, including communities, the Church, parent-teacher associations and, of course, Government.
Government should be commended for the robust infrastructure development programme it is implementing in the education sector. Indeed, this is one of the several interventions aimed at improving quality learning in schools.
As we engage in festivities during this season, we will do well to remember not to waste all our resources on short-term gains, but to reserve large portions for the much-needed long-term investment – our children’s education.
Enjoy the festive season. Have a happy and blessed 2018.
ephatm@yahoo.com/ emudenda@daily-mail.co.zm

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