Editor in Chief: Moh. Reza Huwaida Thursday, October 17th, 2019

Our Schools Need Fundamental Change

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Our Schools Need Fundamental Change

The scenes are pathetic; be it inside the schools or outside. Students are the ominous figures of indiscipline, lack of manners and frightening combination of all the symptoms that arise from personal and behavioral deviations and drawbacks. Majority of them are badly dressed, have hairstyle not appropriate for students, they never have the required books and educational materials in their bags or some do not have the bags even. However, most serious and grave symptom is found in their general behavior and attitude. Their behaviors and attitudes can be termed out to be in need of dire correction by the educationists and educational psychologists. They have the worst attitudes in terms of talking, walking, sitting in classroom, behaving with fellows and teachers and of course their seriousness and interest in their studies.
Teachers are in great pressure in teaching such kids who are not ready to listen to them, who do not follow their instructions, who don’t bring books or other materials and who misbehave with them.
These students are very weak academically because instead of learning, most of the time passes in killing the time; the time that would never turn back and is considered as the golden part of one’s life.
School administration is also in pressure as instead of maintaining the discipline and bringing general improvement in school, most of their time is consumed by measures as how to stop students from breaking the discipline or making the situation even worse.
The above-described scenario is the bleak picture of majority of schools in Kabul. There are exceptions in form of some well-disciplined private schools and tightly held government schools, otherwise, the situation is even more frightening in some cases.
Fighting of students that sometimes turns into a serious mishap in which students stab each other or when a group of students torture a teacher outside the school are few of the examples when the seriousness of the issue reach to its peak.
It would be better explained by the educational experts and other informed and concerned sources as how and when the things went wrong but in my humble opinion and imperfect observation, there are many factors responsible for this ominous situation.
First is the perception that children, and especially students should be brought up in a lenient and relaxed environment; an environment that should be absolutely sterilized of the germs of physical or emotional torture or shouting at a student in a loud voice.
Next is the lack or absence of training of teachers when they do not know as how to tackle the students in different situations and how to treat them keeping in view their psychology and personality traits.
The third and one of the most important factors is absence of well-organized school administration that should be fully aware of latest and proven methods of disciplining and controlling schools and lack of latest institutional equipments and materials that have been found very useful in maintaining a good discipline in schools and other educational institutes.
The condition is absolutely contrary to the schools of our neighboring countries of Pakistan and India where improved methods and techniques have brought into effect a system which makes sure that students be controlled properly within the established limits resulting in the upbringing of students with sound and disciplined personalities increasing their output in academic and extra-curricular fields of achievement.
However, it should not be forgotten that above problem has nothing to do with facilities, resources and advanced equipments. This problem has also been felt badly by the developed countries of Europe and American continents. There, problem still exists and spreading rampantly even with the provision of all the facilities and application of latest techniques.
In this regard, teachers have observed another interesting situation. Students belonging to villages or having family backgrounds with old and traditional beliefs and practices about the importance and respect of teachers mould the minds and attitudes of students in a way that they give more importance to school, the teacher and studies and thus their disciplined behavior results in improved outputs. With such students, the process of teaching and learning becomes more easy and productive.
Success of Turkish schools in improving the behaviors of students in different parts of the world has increased their popularity a lot and now such schools are in great demand in parts of the world where absence of belief in religion has deprived children of an established set of sound and acceptable attitudes and behaviors. These schools are successful as they establish an environment where sound and healthy behaviors are encouraged and these good deeds are present in the teachings of almost all the religions.
It is the call of time that corrective steps should be taken on all grounds and by all the stakeholders of education; ministry, parents, teachers, educational experts and psychologists should devote their energies, expertise and sincerity in order to tackle this worsening epidemic.
First, it needs to be understood that strictness and disciplining are entirely different things. In old times, when teachers had full authority to beat the students and insult them occasionally on pity things, silence was maintained in the classroom but this approach also silenced the students’ zeal to ask questions, be participative and develop his or her confidence.
It is usually misunderstood that students or teenagers should be given a free hand in the name of modern psychology so that their personalities should be free of any complexities. Modern psychology has found after repeated experiments that a pleasant environment is very essential for children and teenagers to make their personalities groom but it comes with so many conditions and needs to be adopted by those who should have good understanding of all these. On the other hand, almost all the parents, who do not understand the concept clearly and are not good at its implementation, have given their children complete freedom that has resulted in the decline of the manners and attitudes of their loved ones.
Next responsibility lies on the shoulders of teachers who not only need to make their lessons interesting and logical but also require training to handle the behaviors of students and in this regard, they are in dire need of training about educational psychology.
Problems regarding the administration of schools can be solved by improving the expertise of administrators. Mostly, a successful or aged teacher is given with the responsibilities of administrating the school matters but it is not necessary that a successful teacher should become a successful administrator as well.
If this problem persisted and some practical steps were not taken to resolve it, it is feared that we will bring up a generation that will be void of anything; manners, attitude, knowledge and practical expertise and that would be the worst of the treasons ever done with this country.

M. Rasool Shahis the emerging writer of the Daily Outlook Afghanistan. He can be reached outlookafghanistan@gmail.com

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