Kaieteur News – It has become the habit of students to stake out various places in order to study. It is not unusual to discover children in the Botanic and Promenade Gardens or even in the National Park.
I would be very shocked if any of my offspring told me that they were going to the gardens or park to study. I normally associate parks and gardens with relaxation and fun and not with serious studies.
It is a fact of life in Guyana though, and has been so for many years that students would seek out the quietude of gardens and parks within the Capital for study. Somehow these students feel that they can attain more by studying in these places than by staying at home.
However, there are risks involved in even going to these places. While the loneliness of the Botanic Gardens, for example, does encourage some students to go there to revise, this very loneliness also encourages attacks by criminals.
A few years ago, criminal elements set their eyes on the laptop of a young girl who had gone along with her friends to engage in group study in the gardens. The bandits tried to wrest the laptop from the girl but she resisted and was shot in the process.
She should consider herself lucky because the situation could have been worse. While there comes a time when people need to stand up to such criminal actions, it is not at all heroic to be risking one’s life when facing an armed gunman.
I find it horrifying that a gunman would shoot at a schoolchild simply to relieve her of her laptop computer. In my days, there were bullies, mainly older boys who would go around at times robbing smaller children of their pocket change. But they would never seek to go further than that and would never harm the child.
We have a new generation of criminals who show no mercy to their victims and therefore when they are caught and put before the courts, they should expect none. There can be no justification whatsoever for robbing a child.
There can also be no reason for a child to be going into parks and gardens with a laptop. Where will the laptop be plugged in? How much use can be obtained from the battery? No more than a few hours at the most and therefore it would have been advisable for that student to leave her portable computer at home.
The other issue is why was it necessary for the students to have their group study in the gardens instead of in schools or at home? Certainly if students are preparing for examinations and feel the need to study in a group setting, they should find a comfortable place where they can sit and study at desks. School administrators should consider issuing passes to students to study on weekends in school for fixed hours.
I personally have never believed in studying in groups. For me too much time is likely to be spent chatting rather than studying and very little is achieved through this form of studying than what can be obtained through individual private study.
Some students however will argue that coming together with friends creates the necessary discipline and motivation to work. If this is the case, then they should try to work on their own motivation because it is important that students also do individual studies since more is achieved through this form of studying.
At times, group interaction is necessary such as when a number of students are cooperating on an assignment and here again, this is better done in a school setting rather than in parks.
One of the problems that face many students, especially poor students preparing for examinations is that they are unable to study at home. For one, not many poor families can guarantee a comfortable and secure place for students to undertake their private study. Secondly, there are many distractions involved in home study. Yet both parents and children should learn to find ways of creating a quiet and comfortable environment so that the student can study at home rather than having to venture outside the home to study.
This issue of students having to study in parks and in groups is something that should be addressed. Efforts should be made to create a comfortable zone for students to do their work at home. Schools should however also recognise the challenges that students face and seek to provide some place for them to go on weekends if they need to study.
My advice to students preparing for examinations is to stay at home and study. It is the safest place to be.
(The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of this newspaper.)
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