SENDING children aged below ten to a boarding school is denying them their basic rights, which include parental love and care. The remarks were made by the Acting Director of Temeke Municipality, Mr John Bwana who is also Head of Children Department in the Municipality, in Dar es Salaam on the occasion to mark the International African Child Day.
He was speaking during an event organised by BRAC Tanzania, which is involved in education, agriculture and entrepreneurship.
The theme of this year was ‘Strengthen protection and equal opportunities for children’. He advised the parents to not let guests visiting their homes to sleep in the same room with the children because most of them are not trustworthy.
According to him, children being in the same room with adults is not a healthy idea because they could be treated cruelly and might be afraid to reveal it after being threatened.
“Now days the world has changed, people are not trustworthy. Even close relatives can mistreat our children by subjecting them to practices that are unsuitable for their age like sexual issues,” he said.
Mr Bwana, who was the guest of honour said sending children below ten years old to boarding schools contributes to lack of parental love and care to the children.
“According to various studies at a tender age, children could learn immoral behaviours at boarding schools. They may even face bullying which affects their lives, acts like homosexuality mostly begin in boarding schools because sometimes their matrons and patrons are unfaithful,” he said.
He urged the public to unveil and report the acts of violence against children whenever this occurs in their areas to the police instead of solving the matters at the family level.
He stressed that most of violence against children begins at family level. He said protection and excellent care to all children is the duty of the parent in order to raise the children with the base of discipline and good moral.
The move will help build the future nation of patriotic people. A parent of two children, Aisha Ramadhan said she can’t let her children stay in boarding school when they are at the level of primary school.
“I won’t let my children stay in a boarding school when they are still in primary school level because I need to closely follow up on their behaviour and they have to understand what I like and what I dislike them to behave,” she said.
Ms Ramadhan said al though her husband and herself could afford to send their children to a boarding school of any cost they have agreed to do not so because they both like to see their children at home.
She said sending a child of below the age of 15 to boarding school is not good although many parents see it as the fashion without thinking the side effects that could face a child.
In boarding school children are missing parental love and care and it is easy for them to learn risky behaviours. “Many children are ending in risky behaviour due to acts they learnt in boarding school because they met with wrong people who taught them bad things and it is also too difficult to parents to notice the changes because they stay with children only few days of holidays,” she added.
Parent Daniel Chillu, a father of two children a daughter and son said before the age of ten for a child is the time to understand his or parents and the time for parents to create friendship with the kids in order to help a kid to be open to the parents.
He said a child living far from parent is a problem because it is easy for a child to experience bad behaviour without a parent knowing. Without a friendship between parents and children it is difficult to the children to tell or ask the parents for help when they face a problem or any challenge.
“I really love my children, I won’t let them live far from me until they complete ordi nary level of secondary school. They will go to school and in the evening I want them back at home, it is helpful to monitor their discipline,” said Daniel.
The BRAC Tanzania Project Manager of Growth and Care for the children, JanethMalela said to strength protection and equal opportunities to the children is to make sure all children are getting equal rights against physical, sexual and psychological violence.
She commented that parental love and care is very neces sary in raising a child in this moment where the society is facing many challenges of indiscipline and moral decays.
“I advise the public to give equal opportunities to all children from family to national level, the opportunities are in education, health and other studies by staying close to them especially in the earlier age.” She said.
MsMalela said nothing is worth to the children than education because education will set a child free from many bad things and will help them to know their rights and responsibilities as children.
At the pre-primary school level, it targets underprivileged children to prepare them for mainstream primary school entry. BRAC primary schools are designed to give a second chance at learning to disadvantaged children who have been left out of the formal education system due to extreme poverty, violence, displacement or discrimination.
The non-formal primary schools complement the mainstream school system with innovative teaching methods and materials. She said BRAC Tanzania through the Accelerated Learning Process (ALP), has benefited 1890 children in Dar es Salaam, Iringa, Tanga, Dodoma and Mbeya.
In the Tanga region 900 female children have got entrepreneurship studies. The overall goal of the preprimary school programme is to make children aged between 5-6 years participate in early learning activities in safe, child-friendly, learning environments in centres, homes and communities and develop their cognitive, emotional, linguistic and numerical abilities to communicate, socialise and learn, and become better prepared for school.