School fundamentals must prevail
This week is a significant one for many parents as their children either begin or return to their school careers.
It’s a challenging time, especially for beginners, but also for those entering high school and those who will undertake their matric exams this year.
Whatever their ages, pupils have common rights.
Every child has the right to quality education and to attend a school that has the necessary infrastructure and amenities, as well as a team of committed educators – who are present and punctual every day - led by a strong principal.
The high absentee rate of teachers, as well as the deployment of unqualified educators, cannot be tolerated.
Pupils have the right to decent transport to enable them to be safely conveyed to and from school – not packed like sardines in the back of overloaded, non-roadworthy and uninsured bakkies.
They should not be discriminated against because of poverty: free books, uniforms and food should be given to those indigent families whose children should not be denied proper education simply because they cannot afford it.
Pupils are entitled access to sport and other extra-curricular activities, so that all aspects of their physical, mental and social development are catered for.
Counselling must be made available.
They need, above all, for their schooling to be exciting and to be fun, years that can be looked back upon as carefree – in the sense that adults have taken charge of those things young lives should not have to deal with.
All children are special, and each will have his or her individual strengths, weaknesses and talents.
We rely on the school system to identify these and fully bring their potential to the fore.
To the teaching profession, including the masterminds in the Department of Education, you are the country’s hope as you shape the minds and lives of these tender saplings which will grow to become strong oaks.
Please do not disappoint them.