The Minister of Education and Skills Development Unity Dow was on Thursday left with an egg on her face after Kgosi Galeakanye Modise of Tswapong region bashed the boot camp initiative for students calling it a haven of lawlessness and moral degeneration.
Dow appeared before members of Ntlo ya Dikgosi on Thursday and had briefed them about how her ministry was struggling to deal with a high level of moral degeneration and indiscipline among students.
As one of the measures of redress she said her ministry have devised several initiatives among them the boot camp model, in which students from different school meet and engage in activities that are geared at instilling in them discipline and good conduct.
Kgosi Modise condemned boot camps saying they were a nest of indiscipline and thus the ministry should come up with a better way of conducting them or else discontinue them altogether. He shared a personal experience in which he claimed that when he passed by one boot camp held in Mahalapye last year, he witnessed undesirable acts from both students and their teachers. “At some point I heard a teacher publicly declaring that he wants to sleep with one of his students,” Modise said.
Modise expressed concern that the Ministry was forcing students to attend these boot camps, saying as it is, attendance should be optional especially that they have now been proven to be not as effective as initially intended. “Iam sorry my child would never attend such boot camps and I wouldn’t advise any parent to let their children to,” he said.
In response Minister Dow agreed that boot camps may have had a bad start and said she thus does not blame Kgosi Modise for having such a perception about them. Dow however said it is a matter that her ministry will look into.
The Minister had asked for Dikgosi’s assistance in instilling good behaviour and morals in students. She bemoaned that it was now an open secret that schools were struggling to deal with students who she says most lack basic respect, were irresponsible , lacked integrity and other interpersonal qualities like care and harmony.
According to Dow it has further been discovered that these problems emanated from drug and alcohol abuse by students. Alcohol and drugs she said it’s now clears are readily available to students. As a measure of redress she said school officials have been advised to vet, register and monitors hawkers trading within the periphery of their school premises as it has been discovered they have a hand in the easy access of these habit forming substance to students.Dow also stated that schools will soon start conducting random spot checks on students, to curb drug and alcohol availability and use in schools.
Meanwhile most Dikgosi agreed with the minister saying the high level of indiscipline and immorality among young students. While most blamed lack of involvement by parents in molding their children, some Dikgosi blamed the decline in the use of corporal punishment saying it is has proved to be effective in the past and should be used in schools to instill discipline among students.