Permit me to add my voice to the outcry on violence against our precious children in schools.
I will like to say very quickly that in solving a social problem of any kind, we must be astute in separating causes from effects. Addressing the effects as the causes only sensationalise the issues and takes the sail off the wind of finding lasting solutions.
That there is violence in our schools both private and public is no more news. The 2018 reports of UNICEF on the drivers of Violence Against Children found that much.
What need to concern ourselves with today is the cause.
Permit me to submit that violence against children in Nigeria is not a CAUSE. It is an EFFECT. It is not a SEED…It is a FRUIT…It is not a ROOT…It is a BRANCH.
The root is this thing we call child discipline. Almost everyone who perpetrate violence against children at home and in schools do it in the name of discipline. The report I refer to about found Nigeria to be one of the top 10 countries in the world where violence is perpetrated against children in the name of discipline.
This practice of equating violence against our precious children with DISCIPLINE has it root in our culture as a people.
It is that culture that is comfortable with perpetrating violence against children and call it discipline that we must focus on through a rigorous orientation and reorientation and training and retraining on alternative forms of disciplinary measures.
Policy is critical but it may not be a primary concern here. For example, the Lagos State Government for some years now has a policy against corporate punishment in her schools. Yet, violence has not reduced against students.
The mistake, I think the Lagos State Government and many of us a making is that we want to change a prevailing cultural practice, backed up and fortified with the Dominant Value System of the people by policy. Such template does not exist anywhere in the world.
The people who perpetrate violence against our precious children were themselves raised through violence in most cases. They do not know other ways of helping children to experience the beauty of discipline, despite the fact that it is not always pleasant. What they do to the children in schools, they do to their own children at home if not worse.
They feel for the precious children under their care, when they are told violence must not be part of the the equation…They believe that without violent discipline the precious children are being spoilt and have no future.
We may fight the foregoing all we want, it is the reality on the ground and it will not change by the fiat of Law, Policy and Signature Gathering.
Taking, Lagos State as example, what is the investment of the Lagos State Government in orientation and reorientation intervention of public schools teachers? What is the budget for training on alternative forms of discipline?
I think I am more at home with the strategy of the SOS Children’s Village, Nigeria, who is investing heavily in the orientation and reorientation and training and retraining of public teachers in the areas where they work on the subject matter of discipline. SOS Children’s Village has also gone ahead to comission the preparation of Right-Based Approach to Discipline In School Manual, which lays the solid foundation for the underlying principles, aimed at helping teachers to embrace the revolution of POSITIVE DISCIPLINARY MEASURES.
I think this is the way we should be thinking. In ENVISIONING DESIGNING PLANNING and PROVIDING CARE, we must be interested in STANDARDS as an inevitable tool and find professional solutions to every social problems, plaguing our precious children today in their legions.
I have been privileged to work with the SOS Children’s Village Nigeria in the last 5 years or so to achieve the foregoing and I can testify firsthand that it works and it is working.
I suggest we can also embrace this challenge in our areas of influence and I am available to help in giving further and clearer perspectives to the foregoing suggestions. As a song writer says, ‘revolution starts with ONE…Don’t be afraid to be the ONE…’ One person at a time, one school at a time, I think we can reduce and ultimately stop violence against our precious children in schools, focusing on the right tools.
Do have an INSPIRED week.
Yours IN THE BEST INTEREST OF THE PRECIOUS CHILDREN CHILD,