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Taking small steps towards great outcomes


There are untested correlations and assumptions made between poverty and academic under-performance

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I refer briefly to the gobsmacking revelations of corruption that seem to have been the norm since we sloughed off racism.

Those who make the revelations can never be heroes.

They have just lost a place at the trough.

However, they serve as a point of departure for this week’s column. They force me to look at the other end of the social map, the greater part of the social template where the poor, the meek and the neglected reside.

We refer to their hapless state as mendicants, receivers of bureaucratic after-thoughts and accusations of idleness.

The president promises to create jobs, but it’s not for them. The schools turn their children away because they are not revenue bovines (cash cows, to you).

There are untested correlations and assumptions made between poverty and academic under-performance.

They subsist on bare-bone incomes.

Making vote-catching promises and blaming external agencies like gangsterism and violence doesn’t cut it.

We need a national moral rearmament.

Pupils, poverty is not an excuse for laziness. Make this the year of your turnaround.

You can flaunt your achievement in the garden of your self-achievement and resolve.

Start by growing a pot plant. Nurture the plant regardless of your circumstances. All it takes is love and a little water. Use it as a barometer of your own growth.

Parents, buy into your child’s end-of-year results now. Talk to your child. Form safe houses between your home and the school.

If you are unemployed, serve as watchdog for miscreants who prey on children.

If you are literate, offer to do extra reading classes outside school hours.

Bolster your child’s self-image.

Employers, start a savings ethic, no matter how small, so that your worker can put aside money for seasonal expenses.

Introduce incentive schemes and get to know the names of your workers’ school-going children.

Introduce the notion of small savings for long-term goals. Encourage parental pride by offering trophies to your workers’ children bearing your trade name.

Education Department, you can help by promoting utilisation of wasted empty space after the close of the school day.

Forget fast-tracking cognition through tablets and such.

Encourage community involvement that requires memory-training and academic discipline, not finger dexterity.

Families, buy into simple school dress codes. Insist on decent hem lengths, especially at high school level. Promote the maintenance of good physical and moral health. Be a parent by talking to the student blatantly smoking in public while wearing a school uniform.

Yes, I hear you say, that’s pie-in-the-sky. But the pyramids were built by placing one brick first. The rest followed and has become symbols of achievement. I think the Egyptians built those pyramids because nobody said it couldn’t be done.

Which brick are you prepared to lay?

It starts small, but it will grow.

Trust me.