Tuesday, January 16, 2018

Schools need departments of reform


Mark Fraser

Indiscipline has become a national problem. It is evident from our highest house of Parliament, to public workers, schools and at every rung of our social ladder. Indiscipline has grown into a ravaging monster of seemingly uncontrollable proportions. 

It must be agreed that petty indiscipline in schools at all levels has existed from the beginning, but the degree of rudeness, violence and vandalism among our secondary school pupils is an undesirable aspect of our modern social chemistry which must now be closely examined and brought under control.

When we emerged as an independent nation in 1962, our people decided to erase the colonial past and establish a new order of national identity. In that thrust, we blindly cast away our inherited legacy of good manners, respect, desirable work attitude, genuine aspiration, pride and tolerance as we continued to blame and lick at the scars of slavery and indentureship, while oblivious to our regression into another form of dependency and slavery to other foreign influences.

We must accept that the agony, hardship and humiliation through the struggle to independence, created in us a oneness...the unity of peoples from diverse geographic origins into a unique nation of warm, hospitable and accommodating people. We proudly stood out as the perfect world model of cosmopolitanism. Today, there are still fragments of that perfect dream, crying out for survival in the midst of a growing appetite for savage pleasure, which is so graphically dramatised in public performances, especially so at Carnival time. These are the models of indiscipline, vulgarity and obscenity.

Now we have the repulsive appearance, debased and uncivilised attitude by groups of delinquents, who are practicing the violence and crude, adult language as projected in our many TV shows. Concerned parents and teachers are raising silent voices of protest against those shows, but this seems blatantly unheeded by irresponsible programmers, producers and sponsors. Those shows are the distance learning process of violence, providing details in the mechanics of crime.

Another disturbing factor in the lives of our youths is their unlawful consumption of alcohol. This seems to be overlooked in the face of the more serious watch on the drug menace. 

It has now become commonplace to see many young boys and girls of ages ranging from 11 to 18 consuming beers, rum and related alcoholic concoctions at public bazaars, malls and wild parties. Who sold them the alcoholic drinks? This demonstrates the level of irresponsibility among the adults who have acted unlawfully by selling alcohol to minors. 

This law must be upheld in order to save our youths and to preserve a peaceful and healthy society. Many of our vehicular road accidents are the results of reckless driving and uncontrollable speed by our youths, resulting in serious injuries and often, death.

Our Ministry of Education must consider the introduction of a special department of reform in each secondary school, to control and direct appropriate remedial approaches; to sympathetically, compassionately and firmly deal with delinquency in and out of school. 

A committee headed by the dean; two teachers who appear to have a grip on things and the respect of the general student body; two senior prefects (boy and girl in the case of co-ed schools), and selected parents of the PTA. In dealing with serious cases, a school guidance counsellor from the related educational district, as well as a member of the Community Police must be invited to reinforce the value and importance of the project. 

This team must be able to command respect, and provide the assurance of trust, confidentiality and honour to their charges, and to serve as an extension of parenting in creating a feeling of self-worth and security to our youths; bringing them to love their schools and communities and ultimately, adding peace, moral values and a passionate sense of patriotism.

 Al Ramsawack

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