Traditional leaders can and have the potential to play a constructive role in the overall advancement of education within their respective communities, but they are too occupied with factional battles and unconstructive endeavours.
That impediment, among many others, is what Epukiro councillor Packy Pakarae observed during the constituency’s education indaba held at the settlement recently, in collaboration with the Ritja Career Fair organisation.
Ritja Career Fair has over the years been working hand in glove with various regional education directorates, with special focus placed on providing guidance around career paths, entrepreneurship and creating awareness on new career opportunities for the learners coming from disadvantaged backgrounds.
During the education indaba, which was well attended by members of school boards, principals, teachers, parents, traditional leaders and various stakeholders, Pakarae said he observed that the local communities and the education sector are in desperate need of support and input from the traditional leaders but their contribution is many a time nowhere to be found or seen.
“Our traditional leaders have a very important role to play in the advancement of our societies, especially in the area of education and the wellbeing of our young people. At our recent education indaba, I observed that schools and learners do not get the much-needed support from our traditional leaders. You would even observe that during most school mid-term breaks, learners are always stranded in hostels struggling to find transport to go home for the short holidays as many parents claim not to have the financial means to pick the kids up during those days,” Pakarae said in a recent interview with New Era.
“But once a traditional meeting where factional battles and infights will be discussed is called up by their respective authorities, then all of a sudden, they now have the money and time to travel hundreds of kilometres to attend those meetings. It clearly shows that education is not a top priority to most of them. So, at the indaba we urged and pleaded with the parents and our leaders to start playing a constructive role in society and support our learners in all areas of life.”
Pakarae added that lack of proper infrastructure and sanitation at schools was also discussed at great length during the indaba, but said it takes more than beautiful classrooms and shiny toilets to produce top performing learners.
“The regional leadership was also in attendance, including our governor Pijo Nganate, and we all agreed that there are serious problems with our schools’ infrastructure and so forth; but we also said we first need to get the basics right and things like parents’ support is crucial. Our traditional leaders and their respective authorities can do more to reward top performing learners and support the initiatives of our school boards,” he said.
At the gathering, the councillor said schools were accorded opportunities to make various presentations and also highlight their specific challenges, which the regional leadership took into account and will soon report back to the community with well formulated solutions.