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MAKE ROOM FOR ERROR

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As is the case with every other academic year to date, the announcement of the completing Class of 2022 results has been one of last week’s significant stories.

Considering the disarray that the pandemic threw everything in (particularly the academic calendar), it has been nothing short of a beautiful scene seeing learners celebrate their success in the company of their teachers and parents. Collaboratively, it has been a monumental effort from all parties to get thus far and it is only right that I extend necessary appreciation. This topic, however, is a very sensitive one and I will attempt to explain how. Many of us went through school knowing that our final class results were what were going to decide the destiny of your future, which is mildly true and heavily pressurising. With the way the world is currently ‘shaped’, this still holds and for some it works out, unfortunately, it may not all be the case for others.

I am a huge advocate for speaking for the individual, especially in instances such as this. As aforementioned, there are very few sights as emotionally charged and beautiful as when parents celebrate the achievement of their children with them. It is a wonderful culmination of hard work, dedication and of course, a very welcome reward on a financial investment. All these hold the child in good stead in their future prospects as well, something which only fuels the parents’ pride for their son or daughter. For every ‘ying’, unfortunately, there has to be a ‘yang’ and it is commonsense to know that there are learners out there who are not looking forward to bringing their results home.

Reasons

This may be due to a number of reasons; they may feel they have underachieved by comparison with their peers and, therefore, feel inadequate and doubtful of themselves or they just simply could not get good enough grades to pass. This places these children in a psychologically tough place to be in having the knowledge that ‘the ball was in their court and they fumbled’ while at the same time enviously watching their former classmates move on to higher academic levels. This is why this time of year poses such a very tricky period in the lives of young adolescents, mainly because it is such a semi-decisive time in terms of their futures and going forward so much so, that those that get held back quickly begin to feel hopeless and left behind. That is where I feel many of the youth lose their way: After a failure, for instance, they stop trying to better themselves and instead adopt a careless attitude that is usually capped off with the use of a drug or two, and before they know it, they have not done anything productive with their lives in five years.

Support

This, I think speaks to the gaping hole in psycho-social support we offer to our children who have had the unfortunate experience of not making it the first time; instead devaluing, demoralising and dampening their young spirits, it would be for the benefit of all involved if we uplifted and motivated them instead. If we can, offer them alternatives to school or allow them that second chance if possible. For their mental health also. There are too many young adolescents who plunge into the mire of a depression after falling the first hurdle of life and because they were not supported back on their feet swiftly enough, they probably end up taking their own lives as a result. It is also very important to highlight the role of parents and guardians during this time to monitor their childrens’ behaviour, especially those who have not done that well just to make sure they are well and in good mental shape. Send comments to runsford0505@gmail.com.

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