The outpourings on the extreme violence in schools is an indication of the current level of crisis in schools. Everyone is shaken up on the extremism and the extent of violence-culture in schools.
A crisis is also an opportunity for the people to come together and help find some solutions. A crisis brings out the urgency to look in depth into the causes for the breakdown of the school systems and the need to review the weakness in school policies.
The recent highlighting of violence and gangsterism in schools is merely the tip of the iceberg of the many issues in schools.
Among the remedial suggestions, one is to provide for halfway house for gangsters, by MIC Youth. An excellent proposal, but we must realize that this is one of the few urgent needs to manage violence in schools. Furthermore, they must be genuinity in providing the halfway house remedy. The project should not be an opportunity for leakage of funds. MIC has come under observation and accusations number of times for mismanagement of funds provided for Community upliftment.
There is also the issue of halfway house is not to be abused by providing temporary shelter for gangsters. The halfway house should be for those who disown their gangsterism life and the shelter should come with an ecosystem for reskilling the ex-gangsters. The MIC Youth should take this opportunity and rebrand themselves as reliable Community service providers. The MIC Youth has real potential to establish a network of a few halfway houses around the country. To make this a success, the MIC Youth must come forward and say they are firmly against gangsterism. In the process, they will receive the support of the Community.
This national crisis of violence in schools must now give rise to a large number of collaborations of NGOs, Political parties and the government to collaboratively address the eradication of violence in schools.
No gangsters should be allowed to intervene in schools and recruit the students for gang members, drug pushers and drug users.
No students be allowed to threaten or abuse teachers. This situation is shocking but is prevalent in most schools. This has led to teacher disorientation and some have lost their love to teach and groom the students. The teachers need protection and a support system against gangsters.
It is a glaring situation that parents have lost control of their schooling children. And as young as Form One!
Parents need counseling in grooming their children. In the process they need to change their own lifestyle. All schools have Counselors, but they too seem to have lost their capacity to guide the students. The Student Counselors must rise up and play this important role effectively.
Academically weak students must be provided with supportive classes to catch up with the mainstream of students. Students not being able to compile a sentence or even not able to read, when they leave the secondary education, are horrible symptoms of a failed school system. The illiterate students quite naturally form groups and become ‘hero’ gangsters in schools.
All citizens are stakeholders in the wellbeing of our students. The total Community leaderships must arise and together collaborate and assist the students to overcome their dilemma of sliding into violence, gangsterism, prostitution, drug pushers and drug users.
Dato’ James Naidu,