As parents, we always strive to do what is best for our children. That often includes instilling familial, Biblical and wholesome values into our young ones’ hearts and minds. Where a problem can so often arise is when we send them out into the world for the first time i.e., school.
Schools, as initially envisioned, should act as a place where a practical education is provided, and home-taught values are reinforced. However, we live in a world where so many different ideologies and belief systems clash together that it almost seems inevitable that learners will eventually be exposed to something we hadn’t intended for them to be. Maybe a guest speaker shares with your children something that you disagree with or perhaps a learner is punished for practicing the beliefs taught at home? Whatever the case may be, these types of occurrences are happening all the time.
This begs the question: “What can I, as a parent, do about this?”
Well, what this all boils down to is the simple fact that you, the parent, have a right (and responsibility) to know and decide what your children are being taught at school. It is important that we ask the heads of our learning institutes what they are presenting to our children. What subjects are being taught? What type of content is being shared? Are there external speakers coming to the school? What are the speakers teaching learners? Does the material, both outside and inside the curriculum, align with my family’s values? These are but a few of the questions we should be asking.
Making enquiries into the academic on-goings of learners and educators is critical to understanding what information is being circulated and even why it has been decided to circulate said information. However, from enquiries must be born action and so it is important we know how we, as parents, can act against (pre-emptively or otherwise) these unwanted educational supplements.
If the scenario should ever arise where you have decided that the education your child’s school is providing is inadequate, then it is important that we begin to look into alternatives. This doesn’t necessarily mean that you should remove your child from their school, but rather present alternatives to the school heads. There are many recognised and government-approved alternative curricula that suit a variety of needs. If you were looking for a curriculum that offers a hybridised style of learning, there are plenty to choose from, or if you were looking for a more values-based curriculum, you have options. Research is key!
Another topic of contention that is often brought up in regard to independent schools is that of school fees and the consequences of non-payment. Undeniably, the paying of school fees is a responsibility of parents. When children are registered with a school, parents are entering a contractual agreement with the school and are required to meet the terms and conditions of the contract, lest we receive penalties; you cannot receive a service without paying for it. One of these penalties, which has been seen in a number of schools, is the withholding of a learner’s report card. In accordance with the National Protocol of Assessment, under no circumstances may a school withhold a learner’s report card from a parent, whether the school fees are paid or not. As a parent, you have the right to receive your child’s report card in order to gauge their academic progress. The payment of school fees should not hinder academic liaison in any way.
In conclusion, we, as parents, have the right to know what our children are being taught in schools and we have the right to decide whether or not they should be taught that. Additionally, under no circumstances should we be denied report cards or mark sheets, in accordance with official government documentation. We have the responsibility of ensuring that all our children are receiving a healthy and wholesome education that reflects our values and beliefs.