Tuesday, 11 December 2012

Keeping the Sexes Separate

My school- kindergarden to Grade 3- has both boys and girls in it, which causes some problems in a country where this is not generally allowed. Rather than just making a blanket rule saying that schools must be split, they allow young children to be together but then make unreasonable rules for inside the school itself. For example, the playground here is a subject of much controversy. Boys and girls playing in the same place at the same time? This can't be! So the teachers are instructed at break times to keep the girls in the sandpit and swings area and the boys on the football pitch. OK, so to me this is pretty weird, but if it needs to be done then I guess it's just about manageable.
But it doesn't end there, and I'm sure you will be as amused/shocked by what happened in the Chapter called, "The ministry of education come to visit."
The grade 3 class here is mixed because there aren't enough boys or girls to make them into seperate classes. But when we heard the ministry were coming- Action Stations!- the kids were spilt into boys and girls and everyone pretended this is always the case. A small issue here is that it meant the boys were taught for the day by their assistant, because obviously there was no teacher. So you could say their education suffered. But the main thing that is unbeleivable is that the children were briefed on what was going to happen, and what they should say if they were asked any questions. Um... I know you're 9 years old, but could you just lie to the Ministry of education to protect the company? Thanks very much.
I still don't even understand why we did this, because if the ministry had found out the boys and girls were in the same class then maybe our bosses would be forced to hire a new teacher.

And in other 'the way children are treated here' news, I found something out about the girls middle school (grade 7 and 8), via another teacher that I live with. She told me that the other day there was a random spot check to search for forbidden mobile phones. The students were lined up against the wall and checked with a metal detector, then their bags searched. Apparently what had happened was that a girl was texting her 'boyfriend' (someone she met on facebook) and someone else had posted pictures of the girls at school on twitter. In their school uniforms! How scandalous. These girls, aged 12 and 13, already have to wear full cover, to the point where they are not allowed to leave the school in the afternoon until their hair and faces totally covered up. So it follows that them being seen not in an abaya in a photo on the internet would send everyone concerned into a frenzy.
This got me thinking about a very interesting modern problem regarding the laws here. Technology has moved on, but the rules have not evolved. Therefore the cinema and concerts are banned, but facebooking any random person from anywhere in the world and posting photos of yourself on the internet, is not. For now, anyway.

Oh yeah, and the phones that were found in school were apparently smashed in front of the students. That'll teach them!  

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