The Herald (Harare)

Zimbabwe: Exams Need No Miracle, but Focus

column

I STOPPED at a robbot-controlled intersection last week when a burly fellow driving next to me suddenly shifted his huge frame to plant a kiss on the lips of a jittery girl on his passenger seat. Immediately after this, the bald-headed motorist with greying beard drew a wad of notes which he stashed in the young lass' boob tube, masking his evil intentions in an armchair smile which seemed to last just up to the time he would have accomplished his mission.

Unfortunately, the robbot turned green allowing the old man and his youthful find to zoom off before I could investigate further.

The incident rattled this writer and left him asking so many questions which remain unanswered up to this day.

"What is this?"

"Is this how old people should behave in public, worse still at an intersection?"

"Is this girl sure of what she is doing?"

"Does this young soul deserve that?"

"Do her parents deserve this utter rubbish?" are the sorts of questions that rang in my mind.

And barely four days later, the Zimbabwe School Examinations Council was to announce that slightly over 18 percent of people who sat Ordinary Level exams last year scored five passes required to proceed to A-Level or enrol for courses.

Is this the Zimbabwe we want?

Not that the examinations council had to right wrongs and pass people who deserved to fail.

After what I saw, there is no reason to stretch the imagination seeking answers.

The results show just how today's young generation has gone to the dogs. Adults too are contributing in a big way to this erosion of values that help keep society intact.

Things have just fallen apart, the centre cannot hold. Parents need to play a part by discussing with their children almost everything including taboo issues to ensure they succeed academically and relate well to other members of the community.

If you allow your child to wear skimpy outfits, you may not have anyone to blame in future if they fail to make it in life after being impregnated as a result of short circuiting their graduation to adulthood.

Mutsvaki webasa ndiwe, achabuda ndiwe,

Uchachema nani? Wazvikanyira wega hona,

Munwi ndiwe, mudhakwi ndiwe,

Uchachema nani? Wazvikorerwa wega hona,

Musori wemhanda ndiwe, murohwi ndiwe,

Uchachema nani? Wazviroverwa wega hona,

Mutsvangi wepfuma ndiwe, mupazi ndiwe,

Uchachema nani? Wazvitemera bazi raugere iwe,

Dai rwaive rufu, zvimwe taichemedzana,

Zvino zvarusiri rufu, mazvokuda mavanga enyora, sang Alick Macheso and his trailblazing Orchestra Mberikwazvo.

True to the singer's lyrics, man is his worst enemy. We give our enemies the weapons for our destruction. The way we raise our children has a bearing on their adult life.

Those who do not work hard from childhood often find themselves picking up the tabs when it matters most much later on in life.

There are so many distractions in the lives being led by today's people of school-going age.

Kuda kushamisira kunoita kuti vazoshama!

Cellphones constitute one of the challenges pupils must overcome to concentrate on their work.

The new world order demands that people move abreast with the times.

But tweeting, chatting on FaceBook, talking to friends and relatives at the expense of school work is a cocktail for disaster.

Tasteless jokes, yours truly is informed, are exchanged by schoolchildren during lessons and this has a negative bearing on their school work. If the truth be told, no examiner passes a child because they know how to use a cellphone.

Instead, candidates are tested for what they remember and how they apply that which they learnt for the duration of their secondary education.

Parents with their children at heart might have to deny their children access to phones except during weekends and holidays.

"Hie dad. I miss you," are some of the messages unlucky parents get from their children.

While the message shows the existence of a bond between the father and the child, it spells doom for the child because it has been sent at the wrong time.

At times parents have to be cruel to be kind.

It is better for a child to suffer and commit their schooling time to sincere and systematic study and enjoy for the rest of their lives than to enjoy for four years of secondary education and suffer for the rest of their lives.

True education is never a matter of guess work. Taking one day at a time makes knowledge sink.

It is better to be consindered hard-hearted while ensuring children do their school work than to be branded an understanding parent when you will spend half your lifetime paying fees for someone without any prospects of success.

Late night movies and satellite television are proving dangerous for the success of children in their school work.

Parents should control what their children watch, who they interact with and the time they should go to sleep. Even satellite television stations can be programmed to ensure only films relevant to children are shown.

Mbuzi dzinopera nembada dzichiyeverwa kutadza kuona rufu rwuchiuya.

The Zimsec examination results also point to the prospect of growing vice in the communities in which we live.

Prostitutes and muggers are sure set to rise significantly as these people who have failed academically seek ways to sustain themselves against the backdrop of unemployment and the rising cost of living.

Very few academically challenged people see value in hard work.

A quest for quick buck always condemns them to extreme poverty and even more harm.

Sex and sexuality can never be a source of livelihood, the world must know.

Killing people to eke out a living will only get one's life haunted and lessons dissuading people from such wrong thinking can never be unworthy in the societies in which we live.

The discussion on the failing of children cannot be complete without highlighting the role of teachers. It goes without saying that these people are not putting their mind to their work.

While teachers do not teach people how to think and only give them something to think about, they have a role to ensure they keep their flock within the confines of a school environment.

Much of the time teachers will be traversing the country's borders buying and selling goods to augment their meagre salaries at the expense of their jobs.

In most major crossborder bus disasters, it is not unusual to find teachers among the victims, highlighting how they are putting their lives at risk in the hope of earning extra cash at the expense of their jobs.

Some teachers are now concentrating on offering extra lessons which allow them to raise cash than to teach important stuff during the normal mental feed times.

Our courts of law are also awash with cases of teachers who bed their students in exchange for better grades.

The battle to cover much ground in terms of the syllabuses has often seen teachers failing to achieve the desired results because very little in terms of quality is being given to pupils.

School children really need to focus on their work and develop a positive attitude towards education.

"Love needucation hazvifambirane. Fambira chimwe sadriver weambulance.

"Ukangodaro chete uchabudirira," assured the late lyricist Paul Matavire in his song called MaU (Ungraded).

And the words were not without meaning.

Once a child fails in school, it's not the end of the world.

They need proper guidance and counselling to move on.

It's important to give a child the chance to sit again the exams and not stress them with calls to get a job and self finance.

"Gore rino zvakaoma. Vapfanha vakadonha varume," is the common line in kombis and at the workplace these days.

But it's not late to take remedial action.

Inotambika mughetto.

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