The Herald (Harare)

Zimbabwe: Strike a Balance At School

column

The school term has commenced and by now you guys must have got the hang of it already! Hoping you have started on the good footing so far. Surely, it will be very ludicrous let alone insane for anyone to question the value of academics in one's life, especially in this 21st century where there is cut-throat competition for the few employment opportunities available. It is surely becoming increasingly harder for people to eke a decent living without proper academic qualifications.

Blue collar jobs are also becoming increasingly less marketable as the world has embraced the role of machines and computers in reducing human interaction, cutting down the number of employable people in most firms.

Today an entire company can be run by a just a few individuals with many machines and computers. That alone is a good indication for the need of education in making an individual employable.

However, education as intended and designed is not only academics. Education should be the all-round training of a student to enable them to fully and easily fit in the community and society while adding value.

It's meant to help students realise their talent and how to exploit it primarily for their own benefit and greater benefit of the society and the nation.

Education is intended to make students aware of the world surrounding them and their roles and responsibilities in such a world system.

It's intended to help students know their heritage or history so they can understand the present day and also map a way for the future. Education is intended to help students stay fit and healthy and to know how to manage their health.

All that and many others are some of the facets that are considered as the education system is planned and delivered.

However, because of various reasons the education system does not always mirror all these facets leaving students dangerously assuming and concluding that education is just about academics and getting the certificate. That is a wrong assumption which has resulted in a lot of ignorant graduates.

It is the duty of the parents, students and the teachers to make sure that students derive and draw as much value as possible from their years of formal education so that the education system will produce a well-rounded and informed product that can easily fit into society and meaningfully contribute therein.

Without intending to derail the attention from academics, students should begin to understand that school is not all about ABCs. A good student should be able to strike a good balance in their school life so that it will be easier for them to do the same once released into the "real world".

The reason why we have so many numerous obese medical doctors is because of a skewed approach to education that focuses on the papers and not the person.

While it is general knowledge that inactivity will result in weight gain, very few people including medical professionals value the importance of physical exercise and keeping fit and healthy.

This year, set out to strike a balance as you go about your school business. There is no reason to run away from Physical Education classes or even becoming part of a sports team at school. If your school does not have the sport that you are interested in improvise and start a different sport.

Learn as much as you can about various Zimbabwean cultures and other nationalities and how we fit into this global world we are part of. Develop an interest in arts. Even if your school does not offer art as a subject set out to learn on your own with your colleagues.

Be part of clubs and societies on the school so that you can also make your own contribution either to the school, society or both.

While this looks like it's only possible for Group A schools that have the abundant resources to finance such activities, it is possible in any school even in the most remote of places. Setting up an art club is as easy as getting together with other students interested in be it drama, poetry, music and dance. All you need to start is the will.

Don't bunk sports even if you are not good at it. The point is not in winning but in taking part so that you stay healthy.

Even if your school does not have fancy training grounds, you can at least run or even play soccer, netball and many ball sports with handmade balls.

Find the balance and learn as much as you can, to draw as much as possible from your days in school.

Till next week guys, God bless you all.

Ciao . . .

The writer is a motivational speaker. He can be contacted on glendhliwayo@gmail.com.

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