It is my belief that a country’s education system can get nowhere without a proper plan for dealing with indiscipline of learners.
Indiscipline breeds amuck in our school system at present, and is high like never before. Indiscipline can cause a whole host of rippling effects on a country’s school system: violence, poor academic performance, teachers being in harm’s way, and an intense breakdown of the overall morale of the particular school.
The community then begins to look down on that institution and before you know it, hooligans are being churned out of that system into the society, where many good, honest and hard-working people live. And that breeds a recipe for disaster. It is like this that hooliganism enters our society.
Being someone in the system, observing the rise in this form of deviant behaviour among teenagers, indiscipline is no longer just a problem in the so-called community highs or lower secondary schools; but there are now highlighted instances of such cases in many senior secondary schools.
The Ministry’s answer to these behaviours: Manual of Guidelines on Maintenance of Order and Discipline in Schools. That has been the Ministry’s Bible of what teachers and other supervisors are using to discipline children in schools. Has it worked? How effective and rational, not forgetting commensurate, are the actual measures of discipline to the actual rule being broken by the learner? Surely, with the reports recently in the media, this document has done nothing to serve its purpose.
With a surge of very young out-of-high-school teachers crowding the system, school misfits see no problem in attacking and showing disrespect towards teachers today.
The next tool the Ministry has been using (to some extent since there is a vast shortage) is the office of the School Welfare Officer. These are limited across Guyana and have not been visiting schools as they should. If they were effective enough to deal with the problematic students, then why is discipline still on the rise? Suspension, expulsions and chats with parents surely have not made any dent whatsoever in this sore arena in our education system.
Furthermore, as it relates to the Editorial of SN (November 24), the poster on the SN website which chided the Editor for using the word ‘hooligan’ to describe the defaulters in schools ought to be ashamed of themselves. It is persons like that individual who fail to see the problem as realistic as it is, and have clouds over their eyes. This is not a time for vindicating children’s rights. Yes, we know children have a plethora of rights; but with rights come responsibilities.
Many school children today are not responsible. Many are just looking for someone to blame for learners’ poor behaviours. Excuses! Excuses! Many parents are trying doggone hard to bring up good children but a parent can only affect a child’s behaviour to some extent. Children must learn to take responsibilities for their own actions at some point.
Therefore, I ask the same question, the Editor (November 24) asked: what immediate plan does the Ministry of Education has to deal with the rise of indiscipline behaviours in our public education system?
One thing is for sure, outside intervention is as necessary in these times; because so much is demanded of the class teacher, surely they cannot oversee the entire process of disciplining a learner for misconduct on the school plant. So, neither the manual nor the welfare officers have worked. So what are we left with? It is widely believed that the police force must set up a few offices in schools. It may be a huge but mandatory leap, but one which is imminent.
It might be our only solution down the road. If some learners are creating havoc in the school system and are throwing the entire delivery of the curriculum off- track, and if all other trusted measures have been tried but have failed; if corporal punishment is still in our laws, but are hardly used for fear, intimidation, or just plain ignorance; then we can only turn to our law enforcement officials for help.
If an education system seems to be churning out hooligans and ‘wanna-be’ criminals, then who best to deal with them than those entrusted to serve and protect the nation, especially our teachers?
The atrocious nonsense young people listen to today which they call ‘music’ is also a major factor in the result of their disorderly and rebellious behaviours too.
Why doesn’t everyone go back to listening to music that which was there decades ago: real, old, good music with meaning?
The Government with the relevant Ministries, school managers and parents must confront attack and deal with this as a national issue before it deals with us by becoming a national social disaster.
Leon J. Suseran
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