The turbulent effort to restore dignity of Zim education
Sunday, 08 July 2012 19:08
Food For Thought Morris Mtisi
THIS is the third and last discourse in a series of discussions that have been food for thought for the past two weeks. I have interrogated the role of students, teachers and teacher training institutions in Part 1 AND 2. I said the good, the bad and the ugly about all of them viz a viz national pass rates, as usual without fear or favour.Ã‚Â I now want to focus on PARENTS and SCHOOL DEVELOPMENT ASSOCIATIONS.
But before I do that I would not have done justice to the analysis if I did not mention what I omitted last week in my description of today's fake teacher. Over and above the unqualified and undeserving trainee teacher who comes to the training college through the back door, hand-greasing and practicing other forms of routine corruption, I exhausted this last week, what would you expect from a teacher or graduate whose major assignments were written by a hired intellectual? How many teachers and degree holders today depend on their money more than their brains in gaining these 'qualifications'?
Intelligence has become income generating property if you did not know. Unable students make it through their studies by hiring special assignment-writing mercenaries. We will not make the mistake of mentioning names of institutions but it is an open secret that as much as money can now buy love and driver's licenses, it can also 'buy' degrees and diplomas.
This professional decay has seriously contributed towards undermining the dignity and genuineness of educational development in Zimbabwe.Ã‚Â
This week I conclude my discourse by interrogating the role of PARENTS and so-called SCHOOL DEVELOPMENT ASSOCIATIONS popularly or notoriously known as SDA's.
Parents are shareholders in the business of investing money and time in education. They are engaged in the business of sending their children to school in order to gain directly or indirectly in the successes and achievements of their children. Most parents now know that their children have a right to education and will do everything in their power to make sure they send them to some school or another depending on their station socio-economically.
In that light parents are supposed to support both their child and his or her school so that their investment is not put to waste when their child drops out of school or fails examinations. But is that the role all parents play?
Far too many of the parents have made themselves personae non grata in schools or colleges their children attend. Most of them display negatively antediluvian attitudes towards school heads and teachers and have nothing to show about their knowledge or understanding of school administration. Which brings me to the issue of SDA's which essentially are made up of parents!
School Development Authorities or Associations are enacted through special provision of a statutory instrument. This means their existence in schools is legitimized by Law. As such the operations of SDA's are governed by statutory guidelines. Yet most of these associations have become administrative opposition parties in the administration of schools instead of development associations. They have become semi-political factions whose self-imposed responsibility it is to police the teachers and school heads Gestapo- style and investigating acts of financial embezzlements and other forms of corruption before becoming corrupt thieves themselves.
A school that has no peace, trust and love amongst its stakeholders is a haven of conflict and a breeding ground of failures. When an institution has been bedeviled by in-fights and factionalism, noise and witch-hunting instead of tolerance and trust, it loses academic dignity and promotes low pass rate. Far too many SDA'S are notoriously known for fanning hatred and divisions amongst stakeholders leaving them totally disunited and dysfunctional.
When the pass rate continues to plummet they engage in more noise and blame-storming instead of cooperating and helping the schools to restore academic dignity by way of good examination results.
The fault has always been in my honest opinion, the composition of these SCHOOL DEVELOPMENT ASSOCIATIONS that resemble SCHOOL DISSOLVING ASSOCIATIONS. Some of them consist of sheer empty vessels good at making the most noiseÃ¢â‚¬Â¦ typical hot-heads who thrive on hot air and negative criticism of school administrators. They sow seeds of resentment, not love and development. Some of them have no idea at all how schools are run and do not know one education policy. They act and behave like village elders who administer communities through administrative instincts which were effective during the times of Noah's Floods. They have no business to be near a school and must go back to school if they want to assist in the restoration of the dignity of an education that desperately cries for improvement.
Members of School Development Associations need special training in matters relating to education policy and educational standards control for them to become relevant and useful in genuine school development. They must be competent enough to discuss issues of academic standards and pass rates, the tragedy of low pass rates and the way forward, student behaviour and education for transformation, school tone and others if they must desist from being a sheer nuisance in the schools. Those that have a caliber of members such as the oneÃ‚Â Ã‚Â described above are doing a splendid job at the institutions where their children learn. They are busy helping to maintain academic standards and making their schools the best in all senses of the word.
Parents and School Development Associations are integral points on the circle of educational development. Like teachers and students, school heads and others above them, they need to know their purpose and understand their role in restoring the dignity of the diminished glamour of the Zim education our beautiful country is known for worldwide.
THIS WAS ONLY FOOD FOR THOUGHT.
l The writer can be contacted on 0773 883 293 or firstname.lastname@example.org.