Who Will Guard the Bookworms?

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Kae Matundu-Tjiparuro

One cannot agree less or more with the concern of the Director of the Namibia College of Open Learning (Namcol), Mr Heroldt Murangi.

His concern is that already the Grade 10s and 12s have started with examinations. Yet there has been little, actually virtually nothing by word of encouragement and motivation from the public, be it parents, student bodies, youth organisations and other stakeholders to learners at this crucial hour of examinations. Yet, come next year and the results prove unsatisfactory, then all and sundry would make noise.

Mr Murangi, your concern is duly noted. It is not only duly noted but is relevant. The Grade 10s and 12s are during this period no longer attending school and are in their homes presumably studying. This is the time when most parents are a good deal of the day away at work and many of these learners may be without supervision. And trust me, very few may really be dedicating sufficient time to studying. Not when they are under no supervision and surrounded by all the modern entertainment attractions and trappings in our homes.

This is why we must take Mr Murangi’s concern seriously and ensure that when we leave for work, leaving our children in our homes believing they may be studying, the contrary may be true. It is thus important to talk to the learners and impress upon them that it is not yet holiday. It is easy for them to confuse this block time (studying time) with a holiday. As you leave for work this is the same time that their block time must also start. Not for an hour or two but for a good five hours or more.

You spend a good deal of your day away from home toiling away to put bread on the table. Learners at least have the comfort of their homes. But this comfort should not delude them. Their days at home are no different from the days that you are spending at work. Their business during this period is nothing but books, more books and books.

It is your duty as a parent to make sure after work, especially in view of the fact that your children may not have someone to supervise while you are away at work, to make sure that they indeed did put a good day’s studying.

Not only that it is our duty and we shall make it easy for our children to do what they have to do if we create the necessary environment for them in which to study. If need be, we may ask neighbours if possible to keep an eye on them. It’s true that not all homes could be affording their children a conducive learning environment. In this instance our neighbours could equally become neighbourly by allowing our children to study alongside their children.

Studying in groups could boost studying. Otherwise children could just as well be encouraged to make use of public libraries and other resource centres. One can only appeal to those running these institutions to be forthcoming in this regard.

On this note, I would want to wish all the learners currently undertaking their examinations as well as all others due to begin in a month or two all the best.

For those who are still to start their examinations, please this is the right time to start preparing. Those who have already started and may not have started in good time, use the block time that you now have between the examinations to the maximum. But most importantly, the learners must not in this trying hour be on their own and alone, but as parents and other shareholders, we must give them the necessary support material, moral and otherwise.

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