Morris Mtisi Education Correspondent
THIS is for parents and schools.
Education that emphasises examination results and qualification at the expense of moral rearmament is dead. An education that develops the mind and the intellect only, at the expense of character, is dangerously inadequate.
Yes, the nation wants top-shelf lawyers, teachers, journalists, politicians, engineers, doctors, you name all shapes and sizes of technocrats. But these need to have a wholesome character and personality.
Diplomas and degrees do not come with integrity and honour . . . but with knowledge and skills. Personal dignity, honour and discipline make the human being fuller. Books and encyclopaedias that do not penetrate the inner person are useless.
Where does moral decay start?
Consciously as soon as the instinct to make choices begins! That is how we answer the above question. Some will argue behaviour is moulded in the womb . . . very true, but we want to keep our discourse simple, effortless and clear-cut.
Have you ever thoughtfully watched your children dance to their favourite music? How many teachers and parents see talent, and how many see trouble? That would be a fascinating study to carry out.
How many parents and teachers see careers out of these passionate dances our children exhibit in front of us in our homes, at social parties and even in schools? How many of you cheer up the ‘‘best’’ dancers and dig deep in the pocket to come out with an unsolicited gift or prize? What are you rewarding? Have you ever thought about it? I have witnessed overexcited arm-chair judges pledging to pay fees for the best dancers, meaning the raunchiest of dancers. Dear God!
Do teachers and parents still know the boundary between dancing with dignity, decency and demureness and explicit dance? When the new curriculum introduced talent-identification and development, is this what it was referring to? Does sensual dancing and explicit body-movement, raunchy, bawdy and gross dancing amount to talent? What talent? Why do parents and teachers applaud and cheer up rude and dirty dancers? Surely there may be nothing wrong with the children dancing, but there is everything wrong with the adults who see nothing wrong with sexually explicit dancing. Since when have we had teachers and parents who do not know or understand that every body movement you make in a dance is an accurate expression of the heart’s sentiments and the mind’s imagination?
Do teachers and parents who see talent in coarse sexually explicit dancing, not know that they are allowing a dangerous precedent where fertile breeding ground for future disregard of one’s body is being nurtured? How does a writer . . . how do I describe precisely and vividly these explicit, lewd, dances and remain decent in language use? Difficult, isn’t it? But you all know what I am talking about.
You have seen your children dance like young sexual predators . . . gyrating hungrily and rubbing their bodies all over like demons having a musical shower . . . even 6 to 8 year olds. Some of them mimic lewd lyrics with awesome precision . . . right there in your face and you wonder whether God is still paramount. And you know how many times you have watched and kept quiet, cheered them on even. You also know how you have disqualified the respectful decent dancers from the floor or stage and pushed the dirty ones to publicly become dirtier and more stupid?
Do parents and teachers of course, understand the wisdom of the new curriculum in co-opting talent and skills development and Ubunthu? If they do, why are they turning left yet the new curriculum is indicating Turn-Right? Or did the proponents of the new curriculum assume the schools would know which way to go with the Ubunthu aspect and the Dance ‘‘revolution?’’
How can one school emphasise the aspect of Ubunthu/ Hunhu which embodies self-respect, respect of others, decency in all senses of the word, demureness and etiquette, but encourage public indecency through the language of dance? How does this happen? If this is not evidence of confusion in the agenda and purpose of the new curriculum, as misunderstood, not as understood by teachers, nothing will ever be.
School must not help to confuse our children about what kind of Ubunthu/Hunhu we are talking about. It must indeed shape desirable character traits in school children, expressed through dress and dance among other ways of exhibiting the same.
Someone must quickly intercede or interfere in the right sense of the word, before schools become ugly night clubs or typical brothels full of boys and girls who have no idea what language they are speaking through their wild dirty dances.
How does a parent or indeed a school teacher fail to draw a clean line between bawdy, vulgar dance and decent dance? That must be the easiest of tasks. Do children, even at school, have a right to use their bodies to become a source of attention for others? Is it their right to become hot and sexy? Is that why schools are watching and not interfering or it is indeed inexcusable permissiveness . . . sheer irresponsibility? Are there too many ‘‘teenage’’ or ‘‘showbiz’’ teachers in the schools to inculcate firmly but with love, desirable traits of character and behaviour?
Check the dress and music of our school-going children? What will Zimbabwe be like in a few more decades to come with these ‘‘naked’’ sophists and dirty-little dancing kings and queens? What kind of dancers will they be when they are adults? When they are parents even? You can all imagine! How much can schools do or not do now? Or are they part of the problem? Are schools not guilty of allowing children to lose Ubunthu as much as other custodians like parents and guardians are? Must Government come in to mitigate moral decay in schools? How does it if its officers are the ones not sure what to do or say?
Children’s rights yes, why not? But where is the responsibility? Are teachers and school heads not confusing talent and dirty behaviour for talent and skill? Are they still acting in loco-parentis or this responsibility has become as old-fashioned as the gramophone?
Food-for-thought! Talk to MM via this newspaper-Education Page, or indeed the people’s one and only radio station-Diamond FM. You are all very articulate and hyper-energetic about national politics. Nothing wrong! But surely this is much easier to discuss and debate! Perhaps children’s moral decay is no less pertinent a topic than politics! Let us talk.
If our children grow on the wrong side of life, they cease to be the window of hope and guarantee of the future we all boast about openly in our public addresses. Without a guarantee of responsible citizens made today at home or at school, there is no future to invest anything into. For me that is the height of politics.