OPINION: No Excuse For A Child To Not Attend School

In the wake of the Commonwealth Education Ministers Conference that ended at the Sheraton Fiji Resort on Friday, it is time that we must evaluate how serious we are in
26 Feb 2018 10:41
OPINION: No Excuse For A Child To Not Attend School
Students of Onolevu District School.

In the wake of the Commonwealth Education Ministers Conference that ended at the Sheraton Fiji Resort on Friday, it is time that we must evaluate how serious we are in our commitment to education.

Governments can build the best struc­tures, best facilities and install the best equipment or system.

But if the individual desire to make use of these, is missing, then it will be difficult to achieve our education goals.

The real challenge is to be able to moti­vate our people that there is no substitute to getting a good education.

Currently, there should be no excuse for any child who is eligible to go to school, to be not at school.

One of the biggest burdens that had kept students away from school was the school fees.

But parents today no longer pay school fees for their children in pre-school, pri­mary and secondary.

Those of us who were parents before the free school fees, free bus fares and free textbooks were introduced still vividly re­member the struggle and sacrifice we went through to put our children in school.

Some went through the agony of watch­ing their children sent home because they could not afford the school fees.

At the time, they wished for divine help or some form of miracle to find the money to pay for the fees.

Some borrowed money, others sold what­ever they had to find the cash. Those days are long gone.

Even looking for loose change to use as bus fare, has also gone. The parental re­sponsibility has been made easier. Then why do we still see young people roaming the streets aimlessly.

Whose responsibility is it to ensure that they are at school.? Education is voluntary here and if we suggest that it be made com­pulsory the human rights activists and lib­ertarians will jump up and down and pro­test that it violates our basic human right like freedom of choice.

It’s a worry because we are staring at a problem that we don’t seem to have an an­swer for.

But, there is an answer. It’s in the home, our families hold the key to achieve suc­cess or failure.

If a student refuses to go to school, who has the power and responsibility to make him or her change his or her mind?

Of course, it’s the parents or guardians. It also raises questions about effective par­enting.

Some link the lack of interest in educa­tion to the socio-economic status of the families. That’s not true. If it were true, how do we explain how a 11-year-old girl from a rural school, raised by a grandpar­ent and an auntie, is able to top a group of schools in the intermediate examination.

She did not use the excuse that because her parents were separated, she could not focus on her studies.

Self pity and blaming others for our cir­cumstances or predicament are a sure recipe for failure and disaster.

Imagine what your life would be like if you stopped blaming your circumstanc­es on other people and things and took responsibility of your own life, says re­nowned author and motivational speaker Mike Robbins.

He says the circumstances of our lives, especially when they seem stressful or intense (as is the case for many people I know and work with these days), do have an impact on us, for sure.

However, he says all too often, we give away our power to these circumstances and situations.

We act as though it’s a foregone conclu­sion that we will feel a certain way, based on specific circumstances like the econ­omy, the weather, our health, our level of activity, the state of our romantic rela­tionship or lack thereof, the behaviour of our children, our families, the state of our career or business or our environment at work.

Our experience of life is much more of a reflection of us and what’s going on within us, not a reaction to what’s going on around us.

He says we’ve all had many times in our lives when things were going great on the surface or we accomplished or experi­enced some wonderful external success, only to feel a sense of disappointment or sadness underneath because whatever it was didn’t satisfy us at a deep level.

And, on the flip side, most of us have had moments of incredible joy, excitement and bliss that weren’t directly connected to an­ything worthy of these feelings externally.

This top student I refer to above is not the only one who has overcome the odds.

Many, who have come from similar back­ground, have done well in life for them­selves.

The fact is there is no excuse. If we have the desire and the will to get educated, qualified and land a good job we can do it. The key is that we must be prepared to work hard and put aside the negativity.

Feedback: nemani.delaibatiki@fijisun.com.fj

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