Discipline in Our Schools

Monday, March 31, 2008

It is good that President Jammeh has raised the issue of discipline in our schools. We hope that his point that discipline would henceforth be “the determining factor for sponsorship” would help bring about discipline in many of our schools.

We do not support teachers who adopt the sledgehammer approach in dealing with erring students. But then again, we do not support students who take pleasure in infuriating their teachers by knowingly doing the wrong thing all the time. It looks as if students now see their teachers as the butt of all sorts of jokes, with some even going so far as to molest them, sometimes physically. If our students cannot respect their teachers, there is little guarantee that they will grow up to be law-abiding citizens.

It seems to be getting worse nowadays with all the rights students apparently now enjoy. When they fail to do their assignments, they have the right not to be questioned by a teacher. When they fail to tuck in their shirts, they have the right not to be reprimanded by a teacher. When they perpetually come late to school, they have the right not to be questioned by a teacher. When they cheat in examinations they have the right not to be questioned by a teacher.

When we condone all sorts of nonsense from our students in the name of this right or that right, we run the risk of having an undisciplined workforce in the future. Right from their formative years, we have to instill in them the value of hard work and respect for authority without being servile. We have to have them tell apart the values that lead to true success and those which lead to damnation. We have to teach them that not doing their assignments on time is a bad habit that they must break if they want to make any headway in life.

To foster discipline in our schools, we suggest that each school should draw up a code of conduct that should be given to every student on admission. And the penalty for breaking any of the laws of the school should be spelt out in the code. Besides, a school administration should ensure that “discipline is maintained to the letter in schools under their control”. In this way, it is the school that will be setting the tone of discipline in the school, and not students. This does not mean that students cannot make suggestions to the effective administration of a school through a constituted student representative council.The point is that there should be well-laid out rules and regulations for students to abide by.

We want discipline to prevail in our schools.