It seems that these days the Labasa people are being instructed in all sorts of things by the local police. Gossiping is a crime. Leaving children home alone is a crime. And now we are told that it is not the job of schools to teach manners, but parents. Okay it's primarily a parenting role to instill into children good manners, excellent behaviour, ethics and a knowledge of right and wrong, or good, better and best. But to say that schools are only about academic achievement is incorrect. Teachers surely incorporate ethics and the desire for behaviour into their class management and in use of computers, books, sharing resources, respect for adults and fellow students and also in the way the play sport, the way they behave in the buses and so on. I do agree though that there are times when parents do put priorities a bit askew - running errands by the children is considered more important than doing homework, choir practice comes before talking with your teenagers about how they feel about life etc.
From the Fiji media I read this:
Better parents and teachers
Tuesday, March 20, 2012
Villagers of Naqai outside Labasa Town were given an important message late last week.
They were told teachers are not responsible for imparting ethical behaviour and discipline to children. That responsibility, they were reminded, fell on the shoulders of parents.
It was all part of a residential community policing program by police in the northern division.
The school, they were told, was not an institution for imparting ethical behaviour, proper manners and conduct but instead it was only meant for preparing children to be academically stable.
Under the new Crimes Decree, they were reminded that parents could be charged with negligence if children complained about being left home alone.
Villagers were told some children did not perform well at school because of parental negligence. They were told that some parents had developed a habit of leaving their children alone at home.
In another part of Labasa, financial constraint was cited as a major cause for children drop-outs.
Fiji Teachers Union general secretary Agni Deo Singh said studies revealed that 48 per cent of students did not complete high school education while 2 per cent failed to reach Class Six. He was speaking at the opening of the new FTU office in Labasa at the weekend.
Students living in rural areas, villages, and outer islands, he said, usually dropped out because of a lack of financial support.
The two issues share one common factor. They both affect our children and how we educate them.
Obviously there will be differing views on the importance of parental guidance and lessons learnt from teachers.
It is not hard though to accept that both can play important roles in nurturing children.
While parents have a responsibility to provide the basic necessities for children, there's no doubt about the fact that a great teacher can make a difference in a student's achievements. It thus important that we recruit, train and reward such teachers.
The bottom line is we need better parents.
Parents who are focused on their children's education can also make a difference.
Ideally, as parents, we should be monitoring homework; making sure children get to school; rewarding their efforts and talking up the idea of furthering their education. Let us, as parents, get involved with our children's learning.
Better parents can help make teachers more effective. Better parents will also set priorities that place their children on a very high pedestal.