Touria Prayag's Blog

L’express Weekly 16 December 2011

Posted in Uncategorized by touriaprayag on February 28, 2012

Facing up

The Certificate of Primary Education ( CPE) results have grabbed all the headlines this week. And they are very similar to last year’s: over 90% pass rate in those schools where you need to forge your electricity bill for your children to get in and the verdict for the other schools is saddening. Should we rejoice at the 0.02% improvement? Ask me another! To be honest, the only ones who were sitting on the edge of their seats in anticipation for some good results this year were the parents of those pupils who took the exams. The rest of us knew that if there was an improvement, it would be so marginal and so insignifi cant as to be not worth highlighting. And unfortunately we were not disappointed. Every year, the verdict is met with denials and yawns. Every year, the results are followed by a press conference by the minister of education in place, some star school head teachers are given the opportunity to boast a little and everyone goes back to their usual activities. The evil is now so inveterate that it no longer shocks anyone.

Anyone who has been inside a school lately knows where reform should begin. Nine- year schooling has been repeated often enough as the only way to minimize the relevance of the CPE and its trauma on our kids. In spite of that, we spend so much time and energy debating more politically correct issues instead of tackling the source of the problem. We will recall how much time was devoted to issues like absenteeism in Form Six schools this year at the expense of more urgent issues such as fi nding ways of making our children literate and numerate by the time they leave primary school. It is not that we don’t know the answers. It is just that we do not have the courage to implement them.

The same reasoning and lack of courage applies to other issues like street hawkers. The same problem year in year out. December is a nightmare month and every December is the same. There are solutions. But they are too politically costly.

Indiscipline on our roads is another outrageous problem we are reluctant to fi nd a solution to. The consequences of some criminally dangerous drivers who, for some reason continue to risk their lives and those of others by ignoring the basic rules of driving, are not proportionate to the attention they are given. Anyone who stands in front of the McDonald’s in Port Louis, for example, any day of the week will not fail to see irresponsible drivers zigzagging on the road, using the wrong lane against all the internationally accepted conventions and getting away with it! The two cops planted there as décor are too busy talking to worry about trivial things like opportunistic and dangerous driving. There is not even a timid attempt to pull them off the roads. The only drivers who get sanctioned are those who exceed the ridiculously low speed limit on the motorway by one kilometre or two. Speed alone does not kill. Indiscipline does. And so does alcohol. Yet, go to any party these days and see how many people are worried about taking the wheel when they are hardly able to stand.

They know, you know and I know that the risk of them getting caught is so insignifi cant that there is nothing to worry about.

There will come a time when we will have to face our problems head on. That is when we will start making progress. Until then, let’s write the headlines for next year.



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