By James Kanyenda
Deputy Minister of Education Nancy Chaola Mdooko says the theme for this year’s International Day of Education resonates very well with the reason the day was set aside for; to ensure peace prevails in the world, aided by education.
Speaking Tuesday during the commemoration for the day held at Mkwichi Secondary School in Lilongwe under the theme, ‘Learning for Lasting Peace’, Mdooko said the day is important to reflect on milestones gained towards achieving sustainable development and peace.
“Education is key in creating a safe place to live. As such, we should ensure learners have access to their fundamental right to quality education and gain knowledge, competences and become agents of peace,” she said.
The Deputy Minister expressed worry with cases of indiscipline and violence in schools leading to loss of valuable property and closure of schools which greatly affect the learners themselves.
She said it is now time to bang heads and find solutions to deal with the vice once and for all.
“The responsibility of finding these solutions in not for the ministry only; parents, school committees, teachers and community leaders should also get involved in ensuring peace in schools. Violence puts the affected school at a disadvantage as damaged property takes time to be fixed, and learners stay at home while their colleagues in other school continue with lessons,” Mdooko emphasised.
She added that parents and communities should be actively involved in shaping their wards to become responsible citizens with good morals and well-disciplined learners at school.
Chairperson for Development partners in the education sector, Allian Zonolin, said lack of peace in schools demonstrated through corporal punishments and teasing among others leads to school dropout out hence the need for collective efforts to ensure peaceful learning environment.
“Education is a powerful tool to shape the mind, bring enlightenment and solve problems and, therefore, we need to guard against anything that might prevent learners from accessing it including violence in schools,” she said.
Parents Teacher Association (PTA) Chairperson for Mkwichi Primary School, Israel Kaunda, called upon all PTAs to be functional and help in preventing tension among teachers, learners and parents by ensuring each of the three is taking its part in creating violent free education institutions.
He asked learners to be submissive to their teachers and teachers to act as role models to learners while parents to shape the behavior of the learners.