Musings of the Muse
It is a secret to none that youngsters have turned very unruly. They refuse to obey and are defiant towards authorities. It is true that the generation gap has existed since the dawn of time. Generation gap means that conflicts arise between elders and the young because they think differently. It verily looks as if each of them speaks a different language and we are in the Tower of Babylon. History repeating itself, similarly, the young now – tomorrow future elders – will fail to understand their offspring. It’s the way of the world.
“Misbehaviour among mostly students is surely not a new phenomenon and educators have always had to reckon with wayward and refractory students. In earlier times, these were isolated cases – more attention seeking, harmless mischief than actual deliberate viciousness. The situation could promptly be brought under control and the unruly student duly subdued. Now misbehaviour is on a massive level and even the initially quiet ones, taking the cue, become bold and brash to the point of insolence…”
However, nowadays the antagonism seems to have reached epic dimensions. Misbehaviour among mostly students is surely not a new phenomenon and educators have always had to reckon with wayward and refractory students. In earlier times, these were isolated cases – more attention seeking, harmless mischief than actual deliberate viciousness. The situation could promptly be brought under control and the unruly student duly subdued. Now misbehaviour is on a massive level and even the initially quiet ones, taking the cue, become bold and brash to the point of insolence. School is nothing more than a place of entertainment and merry-making. Authority is thwarted boldly while those upholding it have become powerless.
The fact that both education and transport happen to be free, only serves to heighten the elation. What we are compelled to witness is unfortunately the tip of the iceberg. Why students behave so grossly is a matter of great concern and merely talking about it and voicing our frustrations will definitely not solve the problem. It is imperative to acknowledge and analyse it so as to seek ways and means to solve it.
With the family being nuclear, comprising only parents and children, and mothers going out to work, offspring are often left in the care of outsiders. There is a kind of smouldering anger in these children. They intensely resent what they wrongly assume to be their parents’ neglect and this is manifested by their insubordination and rebelliousness.
Another thorny issue is that the woman, being now financially independent, refuses to submit to marital authority. Previously she would think twice before filing for divorce. Besides her priority was her children and she was ready to put up with the worst treatment, all for their sake. All this is now in the realm of the past. Split families have now become part and parcel of Mauritian society. If the family has not physically fallen apart, the children now have to reckon with abuse and domestic violence. The sufferers are no doubt these children, the worst part being that they will, in their turn, project the same behaviour on their progenitor. These are the ones who come to school not for the purpose of acquiring an education but only to give full vent to their frustration in class. They are erratic, listless and at war with the whole world; like Samson they will wreck everything and themselves as well in their way.
The issue is not merely to castigate and condemn because this is not what will solve the problem. All is not lost and it rests upon us to make them understand that the only way they can break that stifling cycle and get out of it is through Education. It is our duty to give them a sense of orientation and theirs to listen to us and do their share. When it has been brought home to them that Education is a powerful weapon which can be used to change the world, they will surely do the needful to change the world for the better. School will then serve the purpose it had initially been set up for. Otherwise, whether it is free education or free transport, it will all be sheer waste at the end of the day.
Nelson Mandela’s thought provoking quote on education — “Young people must take it upon themselves to ensure that they receive the highest education possible so that they can represent us well in future as future leaders” — is worth pondering upon, isn’t it?
* Published in print edition on 13 July 2018