Pupils in transit
Written by Kgomotso Meso
Many pupils have two options to arrive at their spaces of education; they either walk absurdly long distances to get to school or are packed like sardines in a can.
Several academics have encouraged the importance on learning, often stating that education is the key to success.My question is HOW do children absorb information, remain interested and love education if they need to worry about being cramped in school transport or taking a long walk to education?
How do some children walk over 5km to get to school and have to concentrate and excel while others get dropped off by their parents and use public transport?
I find myself asking…
Did this child have a decent breakfast? Did she pack for lunch? Does she still have to do chores when she gets home? Not forgetting that she would still have to walk that long stretch back home or be packed like goods in a van.
Child number one is dropped off at school with everything she requires to enable her to learn. Child number two walks for 5 kilometres with what she is able to carry to school. Child number three is packed in a van and holds on to ‘dear life’ as the drive weaves through traffic and the taxi/van has no safety features.
All children are expected to flourish, to excel, to be the next power house, to be an inspiration to their peers. After analysing the different circumstances the three children face, who is most likely to meet that expectation of being a ‘power house’? We believe one’s past must never determine how far you go in life, but does it really have to so hard? The highest human right in our constitution is dignity. Where is the dignity of our children when they are packed like goods in vehicles when they endure absurd distances, irrespective of the weather and driving conditions?
How do parents keep these kids motivated to go to school? I’m a parent and I would hate to think that I’m safer on the road than my 4-year-old boy.
When I see children in these vehicles, I often ask myself, “Is this honestly the only option these children have?”
Parents- is this really the best you can do?Do the parents of these babies in this vehicle take turns to ensure that children travel safe? Do they even know what kind of transport their children are using?
How do parents get to work?
To the drivers weaving through traffic at ridiculous speeds- are our children buckled up?
It seems to me that the owners and drivers are taking advantage because they know, the parents are at work and they come back too late to see anything.
To the Departments of Education and Transport, is this the best you can do for our children?