There is a general belief that school violence is on the rise. Teachers, headmasters and self-appointed ‘pedagogues’ think parents are to blame for they have no time to look after their offsprings. They seem to agree with George Bernard Shaw who once said that since we need a licence to drive a car, it is not inconceivable that a licence may be needed to have the right to procreate.
Are our primary classes boring or exciting? Most people who earn a living thanks to the schooling industry, will find exciting the product of their bland, routine and unsound method. Do they want to know the truth? And what is that truth?
Thousands of children are firsthand witnesses and victims of violence at home. 75% of the population are either non-literate or semi-literate. If 90% of the population have Mauritian (Mauritian Creole/MC) as L1 (mother tongue), 75% of the global population are monolingual speakers of MC and they belong to the working and lower working classes. 25% belong to the middle and lower middle classes where we find people who are basically literate for most and functionally literate for some.
Take an average state primary school class of 32 pupils. We can expect 8 to come from the lower middle class for most middle-class kids go to private institutions, 16 from the working class and 8 from the lower working class. The 8 from the lower middle class will shine not because they are more intelligent but because the school curriculum is tailored for middle class needs and values and they have extra-school support (parental support and private coaching) while the 8 from the lower working class are socially and culturally at a complete loss and their parents, if there are any, cannot help as they are themselves non-literate and non-numerate. A few working-class kids may scrape through but the vast majority cannot cope.
The official literacy rate of which politicians boast is a BIG lie for it is not based on reading, writing and counting abilities but on school attendance. Schooling does not lead to literacy and numeracy automatically specially when it is based on the most unsound and absurd language policy known in this world. LITERACY AND NUMERACY SHOULD START IN THE L1 OF THE CHILD, NOT IN 2 OR 3 FOREIGN LANGUAGES. As a result of this absurd approach to learning, more than 50% of our children fail to master the basics of literacy and numeracy after 6 years at school and the political and educational leaders prefer to turn a blind eye. “Prevocational classes” and “extended programme classes” are just political tricks to avoid accepting that the system is rotten. The much-needed reform is simply ignored.


Most children feel as aliens in the school environment and their inability to cope with what they are supposed to master, leads to boredom and boredom may generate some form of violence which may be perceived as some form of self-defence.
Let us not forget that besides domestic violence, rampant violence in certain regions is ‘daily bread’. But there is worse. Denying children the right and possibility to use their L1 for the acquisition of basic literacy and knowledge is a very bad and dangerous form of MENTAL VIOLENCE.

Political and education leaders are middle class people and it seems normal for them to feather their own beds and the present system is excellent for them. They will not change a system which promotes and sustains middle class interests and values. As time goes by, things will get worse not only in terms of bullying and harassment but also in terms of frustration of teachers who will also face more subtle forms of violence in the future. Has it already started?


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