His Eminence is right | Daily News

His Eminence is right

Archbishop of Colombo His Eminence Malcolm Cardinal Ranjith, speaking at a function at St. Joseph's College, the other day, said he had written to President Maithripala Sirisena, asking him to ban tuition classes on Sundays and Poya days. He said, present day children have been robbed of their childhood by being deprived of their leisure and outdoor activity, unlike during his days. The first thing he did, after returning from school, he said, was to make a dash for the playground. But today very young children are seen making a beeline for tuition classes at the end of the school session, which was not a healthy trend.

The Cardinal is right. Today's school going generation is forced into an unrelenting drudgery of continuous learning, unlike in the past, when they enjoyed all the joys and thrills of childhood. End of term holidays were reserved for family outings which was time for adventure and discovery. Today, though, even these end of term holidays are filled up with strenuous learning sessions at private tuition classes, leaving no breathing space for the child. The competitiveness in the field of education, as in the case of all other fields of activity, has a lot to do with this state of affairs. Children, too, are today caught up in the rat race of a different kind. Hardly do they arrive home, after a rigorous school session, than they are all kitted up to leave for their tuition class. Some children even go directly, after school, for tuition, after a hasty lunch.

The Year Five scholarship examination, instead of being a simple test of learning skills of students, in their formative years, have today become a prestige battle, fueled, to a large extent, by the media. The wide publicity given to the successful candidates have led parents to drive their children harder. This, no doubt, takes a heavy toll on the child. All parents want their children to obtain the highest marks in the island and dream of the prospects of their progeny being interviewed on television, not to mention admission to prestigious schools.

The lack of physical activity, due to children spending their playing time, at tuition classes, can also have drastic repercussions on the child's health. His Eminence said, he ran to the playground, soon after returning home, from school. Today, there are hardly even any playgrounds around. Nowadays we hear of ailments and afflictions affecting the very young that were non-existent in the past. Non-communicable diseases, such as diabetes and heart ailments have registered a drastic increase among children. Obesity among children, leading to various diseases, too is on the rise, all of which, according to medical opinion, are due to lack of physical activity.

True, all parents desire a bright future for their offspring, which can come only through a sound education and academic success. But a balance needs to be maintained. Children should not be deprived of their leisure and pleasure. The normal life pattern of a child should not be disturbed. The desire for success, at any cost, by parents has given rise to a thriving tuition industry too. Today, no space is spared, advertising the academic merits and prowess of this ‘sir’ or that ‘sir’ who will be the ultimate deliverer of success to their charges. Parents, no doubt, are highly taken in by these yarns and would spare nothing to get the best for their children. How genuine these professed credentials are will only be put to the test when the child sits the exam and after the fees are collected.

It is hoped that His Eminence's letter to the President would yield the desired results and tuition classes prohibited on Poya days and Sundays, which, in any event, should be devoted to religious practices. True, tuition, in some instances, are necessary, given that teachers, unlike in the past, are less dedicated and barely apply themselves to their tasks. Also, in a majority of instances, the teachers themselves conduct private tuition classes, to the neglect of their classroom duties, and frown on their charges who don't attend them. Hence, more often than not, students are compelled to attend these tuition classes to avoid being victimized. It is fierce competition that has given rise to the booming private tuition industry, so much so, even Sundays and Poya days are not spared.

Fishing in troubled waters

The pro-Rajapaksa TV channels are having a field day, taking advantage of the current petrol shortage, to take pot shots at the government. True, there is natural anger and resentment among motorists, particularly the three wheel drivers, whose livelihoods are affected by the crisis. Hence, it is only natural that these three wheeler drivers vent their spleen on the government, which is responsible for ensuring an uninterrupted supply of fuel. But, this natural anger is sought to be given an anti-government twist by certain TV channels, which are airing the views of angry three wheeler drivers. How would these men have reacted if the government issued the substandard petrol to the market, which would have caused irreparable damage to their vehicles? 


There are 2 Comments

All students under 12 must attend schools to educate learn discipline moral three r.s reading writing arithmetics . Must time to play active physical sports for fitness etc. Tution etc is fine with specific time. Basic necessities must not be forgotten. Grade V exam is in my humble opinion is not suitable as a competitive public exam

Not a vital for a yong child. Yes he must study learn be curious. But fun games climbing running eating getting good night sleep more vital. Time will make him better intelligent in good surroundings.


Add new comment

Or log in with...