The “marching” season will begin again soon. I haven’t yet heard the sound of drums as I awake at 6.30 each morning. Usually, the practising starts around the beginning of February in preparation for March 6th Independence Day celebrations. All schools from KG to Senior High School prepare a team and they march for hours throughout the school weeks building up to the great day. New uniforms are purchased from precious school funds so that all competitors look smart as they represent their schools. There is military precision about this which alarms me somewhat for a peaceful nation. There is more emphasis put on the success of this day than any other in the year and more time spent marching than reading. All teaching and learning appears to be halted whilst all teachers supervise the team. Relatively extravagant prizes are awarded to winning schools following serious judging by senior official members of the community.
In many ways this is a positive event for children. They are encouraged to support team members and be proud of their school’s challenge for success. It brings people together on the day they celebrate their country’s independence. It is joyful as well as serious. My only reservation concerns the time spent on rehearsal and that the dedication to this cause is not matched in any way to the efforts made towards the education of children at any time in the year. It is clear where people place their priorities.