School fun­da­men­tals must pre­vail

Zululand Observer - Weekender - - ZO OPINION -

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.

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