“It’s the back to school promotion!”
For a long time, my heart always sank whenever these type of adverts started. Not that I hated school to be honest, but I hated waking up early – I still do!
Anyway, it’s that time of the year again when schools open. The period which stresses parents a lot, I mean the January disease is not a myth (even though it now seems as if it’s January all year round to be fair).
In the last couple of terms, parents have not only had to worry about uniforms, school shoes and books, but about laptops, tablets and phones as well. Given how careless kids can be, I can only imagine how much some parents have had to fork out for replacements and all.
Nonetheless, amongst the many worries parents had about their children (as far as school is concerned) is the new curriculum (well, not so new anymore). I say had because some parents have embraced it though of course some still find it difficult, not only financially but also in dealing with the fear of overburdening their children among other things.
However, it seems as though we’re not the only ones who had to face a dramatic shift in our primary and secondary education as orchestrated by the government, because France has joined the club. The difference is, while we were astonished by the introduction of gadgets in schools, France is astonished by the banning of gadgets from school.
It is quite a difficult decision to make in terms of how much exposure we should allow minors to have when it comes to tech. We really want our children to grow up acquainted to the internet, gadgets and so forth so that it doesn’t only help “when they grow up” but most importantly, so that they can start being innovative with it even if it’s in the smallest of ways. The problem now is at that age, they are most vulnerable. If we as adult sometimes fall prey to ‘the dark side of tech’ particularly the internet, then you can only imagine how multiplied that danger is when it involves minors.
However as it stands, the Primary and Secondary Education minister, Paul Mavima has announced that the *new curriculum that was introduced by Sir Lazarus Dokora is now under review. This means there is likely going to be some amendments to it, if not a total change. What I personally don’t expect is that we just say no to it and revert back to the old one. I’m obviously not an expert in this, but I know for sure that one of the main reasons why tertiary education is becoming a joke in Zimbabwe is the lack of constant curricula revision.
So during this process of reviewing I suggest we look into case studies such as this one of France. Why are they suddenly banning mobile phones at school? Is it a research based decision or not? If yes, what does the research say? What are the differences and similarities that we have with France that can influence the variations in the study – and of course we can’t limit the case study to this one.
Also to note is that the minister said the review of our curriculum will involve all stakeholders and as such, you can choose to be involved through this article by making use of the comments section.
Therefore, what’s your take?