As we observe Child Month, it’s that time of the year when we place extra special focus on our children, who, according to the United Nations, are persons between the ages of 0-18 years. This year, as we celebrate with our children under the theme, We C.A.R.E; Embrace the Vision! Empower the Nation, let us truly commit ourselves to co-regulate, analyze, redirect, and educate our nation’s children.
The UN (Declaration on the Rights of the Child) firmly states that “mankind owes to the child the best it has to give”. Indeed, humans are living beings who are blessed with the quality of helping others. This quality is called caring. It is an act of humanity that spreads happiness and kindness. Caring is a gift no one can buy. It is made up of love that is rooted in our hearts and creates memories for a lifetime.
At the Ministry of Education and National Reconciliation, it is our aim to ensure that all our children develop this resilient skill (caring). Our Ministry’s officials, Parents and guardians; Principals and teachers have been working diligently to ensure that our children are well cared for in all aspects of their lives.
We are filled with profound gratitude to you, our teachers, for your indelible contribution towards the holistic development of our children. According to research, few factors in education have a greater impact on a student’s educational experiences than a caring relationship with his/her teachers.
We recently asked this question of some of our primary and secondary school students:
How do you know that your teachers care for you?
These were some of the responses:
- They help us with our schoolwork when we don’t understand.
- Sometimes when I cry, she feels sorry for me, she hugs me, and I will feel better.
- If I don’t have any break/lunch she will give me money to buy it.
- When I am absent, she sends the work for me, and she gives me extra time to complete it
- She takes me to the principal’s office when I am sick or injured.
- They phone our parents to take us home.
- If I get something wrong, he will go over it with me.
- They lecture us about things when we don’t do good and encourage us to do better.
- They ask, “how are you? how is your day going?’
- When they meet us in the street, they remind us about our homework/project and the due date.
Teachers, this clearly gives insight into the kind of care you are extending to your students. We applaud you! Sometimes you may not realize that even the smallest caring gestures have a huge impact on our students.
To our children, there is song Lean on me by American artiste Bill Withers. This song is sometimes featured at many of our graduation exercises. The song begins:
“Sometimes in our lives we all have pain we all have sorrows…… but if we are wise, we will know there is always tomorrow”.
The artiste further advises in the chorus:
“Lean on me when you are not strong, I’ll be your friend I’ll help you carry on…call on me brother when you need a hand….”
Today, we are echoing the lyrics of the song, we care immensely about you, and we are encouraging you to take care of yourself and your friends. Sometimes it only takes one act of kindness and caring to change a person’s life.
To our parents, remember if there is a load that you cannot carry, we will share your load if you call us.
As we mark the beginning of yet another Child Month, I wish to appeal to parents, teachers, children, and the country at large to embrace our vision and empower our nation as we continue to care for our nation’s children.