I know as usual the release of the WASCCE results is going to follow up a national discussion on why students failed. And the factors are going to be attributed to the government for not providing enough facilities to aid teaching and learning and the lions share of the blame goes to the teacher who worked tirelessly for these students to pass well.
Even though I do not absolve these factors of the blame l think there has always been one major actor who has been allowed freely all the time. And that is the student.
Dear readers, I happen to directly deal with a group of students who took part in the WASCCE 2018. And I tell you that the indiscipline and the lack of seriousness on the part of students is a heartbreak to anyone who cares for the future of these students. Students are not ready to even avail themselves for free extra tuition. Most of them feel they are doing the teacher a favour by attending the classes. Why is it that always the commentary focuses on only the teacher for the mass failures?
As a teacher, I personally go beyond teaching to counsel and advice my final year students. And it saddens me to see how students fail to listen or take advice.
Go to the senior high school schools and see the level of indiscipline. Students who leave home well behaved get consumed by the power of negative peer pressure and get back home worse. These indiscipline acts include running to town, failure to attend class and preps, disrespect to authorities and a high sense of immoral acts among others. Our students spend much time indulging in indiscipline acts than attending to their books yet when they fail the blame goes to the teacher only.
Some of these students also channel their entire school life into only entertainment activities at the expense of their books. Forgetting that entertainment just like sports, quizzes and debates are all activities which have been carefully added to the curriculum to aid to a bigger picture of coming out as successful students.
I was at one of the centres where three private schools took their exams and the attitude of students towards the exams made my heart bleed for the future. I will be less worried if these indiscipline acts involve few students, after all, it is not everyone one that must do a white colour job. But am so worried because these acts involve students whose future ambition is to become the lawyers, doctors and pilots. Majority of these students do not just show any level of seriousness even on the exam day.
The school authorities are handicapped because you want to save your job than to lose it in your quest to put a student on the right track to shape his or her future. The Ghana Education Service and the media have empowered the students to believe that any attempt to discipline them through any form of punishment is an infringement on their human rights. So teachers fold their arms to watch children go wayward after all parents are just interested in the knowledge their wards will acquire but what they ignorantly fail to realize is that nothing proper can be achieved without discipline. An attempt by a teacher to genuinely discipline a student who goes wrong will call for am abuse by parents. The media quickly jump to the defence of students without proper insight into the issues. All these and the posture of GES has given enough authority to misbehave.
Indiscipline in our schools did not start today it was there the time I was in school too but it was done by a few people. Even that the school authorities will discipline you to the admiration of parents. One could be given twelve lashes for writing a love letter to a female student. But now we say all the corporal punishment that was meted out to us to get to where we are now are obnoxious and outmoded. We seem to accept everything that that comes from the white man without editing it to suit our own environment. Tell me anybody who has been harmed by caning and I will show thousands who have been made great by caning and other corporal punishments. Those days parents work hand in hand with the school authorities to instil morality and discipline into children. The community was wide awake monitoring the affairs of children so children were careful with what they do but today the opposite is true. Parents are busy with work so children start school very early, so if the schools are not going to be empowered to offer discipline then l wonder how these children will become
Until we tackle indiscipline seriously the few will infest the rest and we will continue corrupting the future of these young ones and that of the nation at large. If we really want to stop corruption and produce students who will become a solution to our numerous challenges then we should really pay attention to discipline.
I call on parents, teachers, GES, the media and the educationist who are quick to condemn teachers to all rise for us to deal with this canker together.
I would like to end with this quote of mine: The greatest threat to quality education is not lack of teachers nor teaching and learning materials but indiscipline.
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