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Daily Nation : January 27th 2014
DAILY NATION Monday January 27, 2014 Opinion 13 EDUCATION | Egara Kabaji & Misigo Lushyia When parents take underage children to school, it’s gross abuse of their rights that 18,934 candidates below the age of 12 sat last year’s Kenya Certificate of Primary Education examination is disheartening. This means that these children began Standard One when they were three or four. T Children at this age are too young to be in Standard One. In essence, they are technically incapable of fully comprehending the content designed for this level. Ideally, children are expected to start primary education at the age of six to seven years. It therefore follows that the lowest age of those sitting the Standard Eight exam should be 13-14 years. It is understandable that we are living in a age of stiff competition in education and parents have become overzealous. In taking underage children to school, they assume that they are positioning their children strategically to succeed in the struggle for grades. This false belief has, unfortunately, not been interrogated. Some modern-day parents are excited to have their children join school purely for egoistic reasons. The mirage of producing super-kids who scoop “As” in the examination is a fad of our times. Our he revelations by the Kenya National Examinations Council psychology, has aptly argued that intellectual development occurs sequentially in four stages. These stages are all critical in child development and learning. He delineates the following four stages of growth: the sensory stage, the pre-operational stage, concrete operational stage and the formal operational stage. The child’s mental capacities Pupils celebrate life with song in Nakuru exam-oriented education system has blurred our vision of what education really is for. What is lost to all of us engaged in this craze for the grandeur of “A” grade is that we are systematically destroying our children. We are turning them into zombies unable to relate what they learn to their reality. Child psychologists warn that sending underage children to school interferes with their natural growth. Research has further revealed that most underage children who are allowed to sit national examinations, perform poorly. We therefore disadvantage them by taking them to school. This is supported by empirical findings. Jean-Piaget, the father of modern-day developmental to learn how to organise and coordinate ideas, to express itself in language, to reason logically and to think in abstract terms is, therefore, gradual, which is why the curriculum is structured in such a way that it takes into consideration these stages of growth. A child is expected to sit the KCPE examination when it is in the final stages of the formal operation stage at 14 years. This is the time the child is capable of thinking in abstract terms, and can use logic to solve problems. For meaningful intellectual development and for learning to occur, a child should be allowed to progress gradually through the normal sequence of development. To accelerate this progression by taking underage children to school or forcing them to skip class, is child abuse. Such children cannot benefit from the experience. By taking underage children to school, we negate the important pedagogical rule that children are active learners. They both need to receive information and to synthesise it. For synthesis to take place, children have to be exposed to content that their mental faculties can digest. That is why the curriculum organises and plans learning experiences systematically while bearing in mind the developmental stages of the child. Children exposed to experiences whose cognitive structures they are ready to absorb learn faster than those whose faculties have not developed. An underage child without capacity to synthesise the content he or she is exposed to can only engage in rote learning. It is no wonder that this has become the norm in our schools. Both teachers and parents have to remember that the reality of a four-year-old child is not the same as that of a seven-year-old. The ministry should issue a clear policy guideline to save our children from this form of abuse. Prof Kabaji is the Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Planning, Research and Innovation) at Masinde Muliro University of Science and Technology, while Dr Lushya teaches Educational Psychology at Moi University. Moi University, Eldoret: No accommodation IT’S A PROVOCATION | Tian Lin Abe’s visit to shrine cruel and insensitive O n December 26, last year, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe brazenly visited the Yasukuni Shrine which honours 14 Class-A war criminals of World War II, provoking condemnations and strong opposition from the international community. During WWII, Japan launched aggressive wars to many Asian countries, China included, with its notorious crimes too numerous to record. During its invasion in China, Japan committed many horrible crimes such as Nanjing Massacre, Unit 731’s chemical and biological experiments on living humans, forceful recruitment of labourers and sex slaves. In the course of the war against Japanese aggression, China suffered 35 million casualties, countless dislocated families, and $600 billion in losses. If one can clearly recall the humiliating history of African countries being colonised and the Rwandan genocide’s unprecedented levels of brutality 20 years ago, it will not be difficult to understand the great calamities and irreparable sorrows that Japan’s invasion of China brought the Chinese. Nevertheless, the tolerant and peace- loving Chinese have always believed that China and Japan are close neighbours, that the Japanese are also victims of the war, and that the responsibilities of the war crimes shall only be borne by the small number of militarists. China is willing to make joint efforts with Japan to draw lessons from history, improve and strengthen the bilateral relations. However, ever since Mr Abe took power for the second time, he has been trying consistently to turn back the wheels of history. He repeatedly expressed “extremely deep regret for his failure to visit the Yasukuni Shrine during his first administration”, and claimed that “the definition of what constitutes an ‘invasion’ has yet to be established”. Finally he paid a high-profile visit to the shrine which advocates the militaristic view of history and insists that “invasion is justified”. Glorifying militarism Such acts, openly covering up and distorting history as well as whitewashing and glorifying militarism, shall not only cause greater disappointment among the victims, but also be condemned by every peace-loving human being. What was Mr Abe’s intention, honouring war criminal ghosts? In his own words, it was a “commitment to peace”. However, this commitment has obviously gone wrong. The essential purpose of the visit was to deny the victory of WWII. This has challenged the conscience BUILD THESE ‘DORMS’ NOW. There is a student of the whole of world. The Abe administration not only denies the history of aggressive war, but is also actively pursuing the rights for overseas military actions while expanding defence expenditures by a wide margin. Abe’s Liberal Democratic Party simply dropped the “no-war pledge” in its working policy for 2014. We just cannot help asking: what on earth is Abe attempting to do? Won’t he obey the purposes and principles of the United Nations Charter? Isn’t he going to respect the peace and stability in East Asia and the world at large? How can a nation, which is too cowardly to face up to history, become a responsible political power and promote global peace and security? In 1970, former German Chancellor Willy Brandt humbly knelt down at the monument of the victims of the Warsaw Ghetto. Such an amazing gesture enabled Germany to cast off its historical burdens and to embark on a path of rejuvenation and development. In sharp contrast, Abe’s visit to the shrine shall only expose his false nature and make the world deeply worried about the ugly and dangerous resurgence of the Japanese militarism. Mr Lin is the Charge d’Affaires in the Chinese embassy in Kenya accommodation crisis on Moi University’s Main Campus and yet for the past three years absolutely nothing has been going on at the foundations built for three storey blocks, moans Joe Nyangeri. The site has been covered by grass providing a homely environment for all manner of snakes and other creatures. Joe would like to know when the university management plans to provide accommodation to rising student population. HE CHOPPED MY MONEY. On June 8, last year, at about noon, Kevin O., the subscriber on Tel 0721268982, received by M-Pesa Sh30,000 that was not meant for him, and quickly transferred about Sh16,000 to three different numbers and switched off his phone. John Wanyama had given the money to an attendant at an M-Pesa outlet on Monrovia Street, Nairobi, to load his account. Since then, his efforts to get help from Safaricom and police have yielded nothing. “I’m terribly disappointed!” says John. LIGHT UP BYPASS. About three months ago, Bernard Ochieng notes, it was “simply great driving at night on the newly built Eastern bypass between City Cabanas and Embakasi Garrison” because the road was well-lit. Today, the lights have ceased to function and the stretch is pitch-dark at night. “The glare from oncoming vehicles significantly reduces visibility. No wonder lamp posts get knocked down every other day.” He is appealing to the Kenya Urban Roads Authority to restore the lights before a major accident occurs. Have a visible day, won’t you! E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org or write to Watchman, POB 49010, Nairobi 00100. Fax 2213946. THE CUTTING EDGE BY THE WATCHMAN CORRUPTION AT IMMIGRATION. The more things change, the more they remain the same, moans Alfonso Gribaldi, following a recent visit to the Immigration Department in Nairobi to renew his passport. Says he: “On the surface, it seems orderly and efficient, apart from the long queues. I tried to find out when I would be served and accidentally discovered the reason. Brokers hand over the application forms of those not in the queue to the officers who pass them to those at the counters, greatly inconveniencing those waiting in the queue!” WHERE IS MY ID? Two young men applied for their national identity cards last November in Nairobi, one at Westlands, and the other in Eastlands, notes Ben Njenga. The Westlands Registrar of Persons’ office had the ID ready for collection in two weeks, while the Eastlands’ applicant is still waiting for his documents a whole two months later. “Could this be a case of some animals being more equal than others?” asks Ben, tired of being told to “check again after two weeks”. His contact is email@example.com. EXPLAIN THIS, KENYA POWER. Can Kenya Power’s Nyeri branch explain to Peris Wangechi Nderitu how the electricity consumption at her parents’ home, which averaged 17 units a month for most of last year, suddenly shot up from 184 to 1,400 units last October. Her father has, as a result been slapped with a Sh15,000 bill. “It is either theft or their meter is faulty, but they are not willing to investigate. I need an explanation, as the bill has now risen to Sh18,000,” says Peris, whose contact is Tel 0720259490 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
January 26th 2014
January 28th 2014