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What is next for our schools?

Where are our schools heading? Do discipline, moral values and student reputation occur to us as significant terms? I dont think so, and there are numerous factors contributing to the affair.

Class bunking has become a common phenomenon. Under the influence of both large and small student groups, the aim is to have an upper hand over the rules and regulations of the school, wishing to pursue in their own direction of freedom. Children become insensitive and unaware of their primary objectives and life aims, hence ending up disrespecting those who look to seek a better future in them – teachers become the biggest victims of ignorance. For instance, with the classes being in session, regular interruptions between the lessons as well as obscene and vulgar jokes with the lecturers themselves destroys that golden atmosphere of respect and dignity from which the students could actually gain focus and benefit from. Then it is the common use of foul language that is being used by any random student picked at choice. The idea of such communication is considered rather classy and cool, two terms which have been misinterpreted a great deal to be honest.

My classmate Aryan Zaidi had lost his way out of eighth grade due to persistent bunking. He and I were best friends, but discipline somehow seemed to not fit his image as he described to me during our regular days.  "Hannan, what does it matter? Teachers themselves have an attitude, and I hate being pinned down to the desk twenty-four-seven. These are the years; all will be well I tell you." I used to try and draw him out of this frame, tell him that discipline is the key to preserving the background he held behind his name, and the personality he owned, but words remained words by the end of it all.

Just two weeks after the winter break ended and examination week took off; he was presented before the Principal for the sixth and final instance, this time on deliberately dismissing a final Mathematics term paper for a casual morning football game. I did not learn that he was expelled until my friend Sarah Azhar whispered in my ear just as the test neared its end. A shake of the head and a deep sigh summed up my response.

The reason why students like Aryan fail to understand these things with a serious mindset is because they’ve been boxed into a totally different direction, least concerned about their moral values and self-respect, heading along the direction which they consider the best, unwilling to rectify their unjust actions, let alone the loyalty of a wise student.

“It’s the image you portray that defends the traditions of your family background and shapes your academic standing.” My O' Levels accounting class of recent had it all wrong. Four fine scholars were sent walking out of the school in the space of three weeks, precisely because the class was too busy filing false complaints against each, in order to evade greater coursework. I assume it was already known to my mates that i was going to be a silent spectator in the matter, as complaint forms were signed on my behalf too, and my sole resistance against the majority was the equivalent of a needle in a hay stack. I regret the day ever since. The spillover effect of their negative practices had left my academic standing in doubt too, and the personal cost is irreplaceable.

Smoking and Shisha is another flattening reality. I recall an incident where my high school friends Shahid, Nadeem and Rizwan secretly drew me to a Shisha house, parallel to the school in I-8 Islamabad, at the promise of a quick cup of coffee during class break. The surprise that struck me was not the fact that I was tricked into the happening so successfully, but the extent to which their desperation of Shisha drew them to. I sat low for most of the time, fiddling with my phone and circling my straw in a glass of Fanta as they took turns with it. Rizwan and Shahid's faces lit up with triumphant smiles as soon as they knew that the English lecture was already under way at school, and they had all the time in the world at their disposal now.

You, me, we are all culprits. Just because we don’t participate doesn’t make us any safer. We keep our voices down and don’t raise them when required. Practically because we’ve let this newly formed idea take over, and if we still continue to be silent spectators, it would cost these children their future and cost our nation its finest power of hope.

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