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Excessive holiday homework unhealthy for schoolchildren

In Summary

• Kenya needs well-rounded adults, not robots

• This intense pressure on schoolchildren started in the 1990s

Kilimani primary school children
Kilimani primary school children

The Education ministry is cracking down on holiday tuition. This week teachers in Athi River were arrested for giving extra lessons to pupils on holiday.

But there is also a problem with holiday homework for pupils on holiday, even in Grade 1 ( see P11).

Schoolkids need to recharge their batteries over the holidays, play and do extra-curricular activities that facilitate their psychological development. The school system should create well-rounded human beings, not robots just good at answering questions.

The new national curriculum recognises this. It specifies that children should water plants, wash dishes and make noise when at home. They should not just be doing academic homework.

This intense pressure on schoolchildren started in the 1990s. Before then primary schoolchildren received minimal homework and no holiday assignments.

Schools, especially private ones, are to blame as they compete to get the best exam results. They are pushing the children to build the reputation of the school, not to help the children grow into happy competent adults.

The Education ministry should crack down on excessive holiday homework as well as holiday tuition.

Quote of the day: "If you want peace, then you must struggle for social justice."

Chris Hani
The South African activist was assassinated on April 10, 1993