The case for Half Day Schools
With 78% of our population being under the age of 30, and most of this age group being in the school system, and having it in our culture that as long as someone is still a student, in most cases they are dependents and not working to earn their own living. This poses a huge challenge of dependence and productivity in our society. If 78% of the population is dependent, and we cannot assume that we are depending on the remaining 22%. We have to bear it in mind that some of the 22% are elderly who are retired (our retirement age is at 55) while others cannot work because of various reasons and others are just un-employed. Is it possible that as a nation we are depending on about 15%-20% of the population for the productivity of this country?
This would for a big part explain the reason for the poverty levels in the country, unemployment, poor economy and the dependency syndrome in our nation. There is no way we can excuse the biggest percentage of our people to be in school all day and do nothing else outside the school life. Our lives cannot be purely centered on schools. There is actually a lot one can learn on job in the real world without being in a classroom all the time. One cannot justify all this time spent in school when you look at its products. Imagine four hundred thousand (400,000) graduates coming out of our tertiary institutions every year and only thirty thousand (30,000) of them are employed. One wonders what happens to the 370,000.
Against this background MIE is advocating for half-day schools if there has to be a school. Our young people must be given an opportunity to engage in the world of WORK as early as possible. There are many reasons for this, besides the fact that these young people constitute the majority of our population. It should also be noted that, it is this same age group which by all means should be highly productive, given the fact that they are at their best in terms of energy and strength. Why should we expect our nation to be built by the old, weak and most times already sickly folks? It is possible for one to do school and at the same time be involved in productive work. There are many jobs in our society today which do not need any particular complicated skills to do them. For example, with the many construction sites in the country, most teenagers could get involved in such jobs as part of their day if they do school part of the day and earn themselves something. These same teenagers can wash cars at washing bays; they can work on people’s farms and are paid for all these jobs. And even if one did not work outside their home, still for them to be involved in household jobs, such as house chores and other, still this would help the family save in one way or the other.
From the schools’ perspective, this would give an established school an opportunity to run more than one school using the same facilities. As students come in shifts, it would not only maximize the school owners’ profits, but teachers would be able to diversify their incomes hence reducing unemployment.
All in all, with our young people being involved and work as early as possible, they are acquiring a lot of work related skills, they are practically developing a work ethic, and they are productively contributing to the economy of the nation. This will make our nation more productive than being a consumer nation. It is for this reason, that if not homeschooling and there has to be schools, half-day schools would serve our nation better than the full time school system we have today.