Children's Corner with PANIC CHILUFYA
THE role of a teacher in the life of a student can never be underestimated. Other than a parent, a teacher not only imparts academic knowledge but is often a role model who inspires and encourages students to appreciate their best qualities and to achieve their fullest potential in whatever they choose to become.
Because of this additional role, the relationship between a teacher and student has a significant influence on a student’s development.
It is normal to hear how some successful people were greatly influenced by a teacher. This is largely because, most students learn about commitment and ability to realise personal growth from a teacher.
Oftentimes, a teacher does not assume the mentorship role knowingly, it happens inadvertently because of the time students spend with a teacher. Therefore, a teacher becomes the person to emulate, with positive or negative consequences.
For this reason, it becomes a source of concern to hear that almost 500 teachers were found with forged Grade 12 and general certificate of education (GCE) certificates.
According to Teaching Council of Zambia (TCZ) registrar Ebby Mubanga, 490 teachers were recently found with forged academic certificates during the ongoing countrywide teacher registration exercise.
The number is likely to increase once the exercise is completed, with examination experts saying that most culprits are in the Ministry of General Education. These are people who deal with students when they are most impressionable and vulnerable.
These so-called teachers do not only have the necessary qualifications for this noble profession and they also legitimise cheating; one can only wonder what effect this has on students. Maybe this explains why there has been an increase in examination malpractices where some teachers are involved, because it has become an acceptable behaviour.
To echo the call by Professional Teachers Union of Zambia (PROTUZ) Lusaka provincial chairperson Paul Chipimo, TCZ should enforce measures to hold those found guilty accountable. This will ensure that students have access to quality education and as way of restoring the integrity of this very noble profession. It is my belief that the discovery of fake papers in the Ministry of General Education might just be a tip of the ice-berg and could be happening across all sectors.
It is important to extend this clean up through the width and breadth of the country, if this worrying scourge is to be eliminated. Otherwise, young people will not appreciate the importance of working hard and become responsible adults in their later lives.
When human capital, use fake or forged academic qualifications, it compromises the quality of education, which in turn impacts negatively on national development in numerous ways.
The effects are not only short-term but can be long term as well. It is, therefore, imperative to nip this worrying trend in the bud to safeguard, not only young people, but also the country.
Furthermore, the practice discourages those who are honest and are prepared to work hard to acquire the necessary qualifications to find a job in the labour force.
Remember, children are our future. Until next week, take care.
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