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January 17, 2020 | | Post a Comment

first_imgDear Editor,I write on behalf of several parents who are afraid to speak out and let their voices be heard because they fear that their children would be victimised. The issue is in relation to Leonora Primary School offering extra lessons to Grade 2 pupils. Yes, Grade 2. These children are on average six years old, have to attend school from 08:45hrs to about 15:00hrs, and are now being asked to attend extra lessons at the school. I should point out that this is being offered at a fee.After the lessons, these children, depending on where they live, get home very late. Once they are home, they have to complete homework which is due the next day. They are also required to study from the regular text books which have been made mandatory by the school/Ministry of Education if they are to cover the syllabus.By then these children are tired and worn out, and would have to retire to bed. My child has complained several times that this is too much for him to endure, and it is causing him to be sick.Editor, can you please tell me when would these children get time to play or to actually be children? Play time should be compulsory for every child; this is what happens in countries across the world. The question is: Why are these children made to go through this torture at such a young age? I should also ask what is preventing these teachers from finishing off the syllabus during regular school hours.Yes, we do understand that it is the level where children have to be prepared for the Grade 2 Assessment, but they should not be made to suffer. In fact, this is doing more harm to the children than good.It could be recalled that, sometime back, the Ministry of Education had implemented a policy to ban extra lessons and enforce teachers to work hard — which they are paid to do — to finish the syllabus on time, irrespective of the grade the child is in. If a teacher wants to give extra lessons, while the school may argue that these lessons are not compulsory, other children who are not attending will automatically feel that they are missing out on work that they should have been part of. It would also be of great disadvantage to the child if the teacher chooses these sessions to introduce new topics. One can only imagine the confusion this would generate.While I will not delve into detail on the additional financial burden this will place on parents, I should mention briefly that parents are already saddled with so many expenses in relation to ‘internet-based’ homework, transportation, meals, sanitation fees, money for text books, money for test papers, etc.On a separate note, in terms of the ‘internet-based’ home work, the Ministry of Education needs to relook at its approach to assignments in general. When concerns are raised with the teachers about the level of the assignments given out, the teachers would say it is the Ministry of Education that makes these decisions. Some of these ‘assignments’ could be done in groups in class with proper supervision from the teacher. What we are seeing now is that parents would have to refer to an internet café to get them done, as they ask for pictures. Also, in relation to the ‘projects’ given to do as ‘assignment’, because parents want the maximum marks for their children, some end up giving professionals to complete; like joiners, carpenters, workers at internet cafes etc. This is wrong, and unfair to other children who actually spend time to get their work done.In addition to being unfair, just imagine the cost for materials and labour etc that parents are burdened with. The point I am making is that because of the approach taken, the child is not allowed to explore his/ her creative abilities. Much of the work which should be done at school is being transferred to the home at a very high price.A number of parents are scared to speak out, but they are grumbling in small corners, and the general feeling is ‘that this is the system, and nothing can be done’.We do hope that the Ministry of Education will take note of the issues raised in this letter, and take action to ensure that some of these issues are addressed for the benefit of our children, not just for the Grade 2 level at Leonora Primary, but for others schools as well.Yours truly,Concerned parentName and addresswithheldlast_img read more