By Frederick Philander WINDHOEK “Namibian schools are faced with perennial problems caused by a lack of discipline both inside and outside the classroom and this must be tackled with the seriousness it deserves.” So said deputy minister of Education, dr Becky Ndjoze-Ojo, when she bestowed the title of goodwill ambassador 2006 of her ministry on last year’s Artist of the Year Award winner, Gazza. “The role of discipline in a school’s overall performance as a holistic entity cannot be emphasised enough. A lack of discipline in schools leads to various problems. Today, some of the school children are abusing alcohol and drugs and boys and girls have sexual relationships with sugar daddies and sugar mummies. These interests are contrary to progress in the educational path and can distract learners from attending to their school work and can lead to absenteeism from school,” Ndjoze-Ojo said when introducing the first goodwill ambassador of the Ministry of Education. In her opinion, society needs role models such as Gazza to help create an environment that is conducive for learning. “Today it is pleasing to see a young man such as Gazza, who wants to do something about the poor performance in our schools and the lack of discipline in schools in broader terms. The artist approached our ministry for permission to visit selected schools across the country at his own expense and speak to learners to encourage and motivate them to get serious with their schoolwork, thus their future. We need pro-activity,” she said. Gazza should be praised for his pro-activeness and his commitment to improving the lives of children. He should also be praised for trying to solve an identified weakness in the system and deciding not just to talk about it, but also to do something about it. “A famous person such as Gazza possesses the ability to encourage children to study hard because children look up to him as he inspires them. They shall hopefully aspire to be like him and even improve upon his record. Children are more likely to listen to someone whom they aspire to be like. We believe Gazza is that person because he is well known among school going children,” she asserted. She also praised the artist for his efforts to include powerful messages in his songs, which can change the attitudes of children towards life. “Gazza’s programme will not interfere with the learning process at schools. Once all visits have been conducted, the ministry of Education will assess the outcome of such visits to determine whether such visits can continue on an annual basis or not.” Soft-spoken Gazza assured the ministry that he would do his best to inspire and encourage learners to do better in their schoolwork. “As a musician, I think I can have some far-reaching and positive impact on the country’s school community,” the artist said.
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