Category Archives: Opinion

THE EXAM SYSTEM IS FLAWED

By Senamiso Moyo | Wits University, RSA

We’ve all done it before, not everyone but most of us have, “chill” the entire semester then open certain parts of your textbook for the first time a few days before the exam and do just about enough to pass, maybe even pass well. Repeat this for a few years and you’ll be deemed ready to work in the desired profession. This to me is the first element of a flawed tertiary education system. Tertiary education is expensive, like a lot of things in life people want to see value for money and many would argue that the degree certificate and the opportunities it presents to a graduate are of great value for the thousands of dollars invested by parents and sponsors. The idea is simple, in a perfect world lecturers are meant to prepare thoroughly for each lecture they will deliver and students are meant to attend, sit attentively, take notes and study the material well in advance.

The reality is however this, lecturers regurgitate notes they prepared years ago, then basically proceed to read them out in lectures. Whether the students have understood is not his or her problem, he’ll probably say, “this is university, I expect you to be more attentive”. Well, the second reality is that a lot of the students actually don’t attend lectures and those that do are either day dreaming or outright sleeping, leaving only a few who actually pay attention and take notes. Most of us fall into the day dreaming category, walking into the lecture room only to count down the minutes until we are released. We then let the work pile up, enjoying life before studying frantically two weeks before exams, again not everyone but most. Now I ask, are the thousands of dollars being paid to colleges justified if this is how the system truly functions? Passing can be a talent, you may not attend class, be good at your work or understand it better than the next guy, but if you are blessed with certain qualities such as for example writing fast and a good memory, you’ll pass most of the time.

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image credit: stellaworth.hubpages.com

 

Think of the number of times your hand has gone numb in the middle of a sentence in an exam or instances where you have remembered something 5 minutes after the invigilator has said stop, not because you haven’t studied or worked as hard as the other person, but because you lack the qualities required to be good at an exam. When the results come out, you’ll be judged to be inferior to the guy who can’t communicate with others or think imaginatively, but what was able to regurgitate the textbook faster than you. Exams are basically a test to see how much stuff you can learn and then how quickly you can write it down, does this justify the thousands being paid? Many of you will accept the above points as true but will doubt that there is a better way than the “Read in two weeks and regurgitate in two hours” system.

The current system is probably the easiest and most convenient, but it is flawed in that we are obliged to sit alone at desks every year end to prepare for a world where we need to work with other people. The bottom line is that you can’t test a bunch of individuals, with different backgrounds, characteristics and qualities with the same means. It is thus the easiest but not the most effective way of educating youths. A better system would be one where lecturers are attentive to the needs of each individual, (YES every single one of them), they are not paid to simply read out notes that are a couple of years old. The students assessed by task completion with all resources available to them, which encourages more interaction than lectures. Then they will truly be value for money invested in tertiary education.

 

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GENITAL MUTILATION: THE ZIMBABWEAN STORY

by Nyasha Chiuswa | @Nyashawelove. (featured image credit- frontpagemag)

Mothers like to tell their daughters about it and men are secretly fascinated by it. Grandmothers passed on the tradition from generation to generation and thus played their significant role in educating their daughters about sexual preferences, pleasure and methods.

I am referring to the traditional method of elongating a woman’s labia minora or “kudhonza matinji” in shona or  “ukudonsa amalebe” in Ndebele.

This practice is part of the customs of some communities in Zimbabwe and is aimed at initiating young girls into womanhood.

When I was around eight years of age my mother told me that I had to elongate my labia so that I would become a woman. She was not explicit about the purpose this would serve.  She did however tell me that elongating my labia minora would help me keep my husband.

Image credit - Wikipedia
The process of labia stretching involves pulling or weighing down the inner labia, or labia minora, in order to elongate them.The lips can extend to just outside the labia majora or stretch down as far as a woman’s knees when standing upright. Image credit – Wikipedia

My peers and age mates told me they were elongating theirs and that if I didn’t do the same, I would be left behind. “Uchatorerwa murume nesu tinawo matinji!!!” they would say to me on many occasions.

I never did elongate my labia and I have a man and he has not left me. Even more so, I believe it to be unnecessary and all about personal preference.

In fact, I believe that this a form of genital mutilation and many people across the world share my beliefs. According to the United Nations International Children’s Edcation Fund (UNICEF) almost all African countries have rejected the practice. In 19 of the 29 countries in which Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) is most prevalent women said that they wanted it to be made illegal.

According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) is the intentional altering or injury of the female genital organs for non-medical purposes. In the Central African Republic, Chad, Egypt and Somalia at least 80% of girls are cut between the ages of 5 to 14 years.

All across Africa several forms of FGM exist.

In Rwanda for example, there is a practice known as clitoridectomy which involves the partial or total removal of the clitoris. In other countries (such as Zambia, Kenya and Zimbabwe) infibulation is practiced. This is a more extreme form of genital mutilation involving the narrowing of the vaginal opening through the creation of a covering seal. The seal is formed by cutting and repositioning the inner and outer labia.

There are many short term benefits to elongating a woman’s labia if she is willing, hygienic and fully informed about the risks. Women are able to take control of their sexuality as elongated labia increase sexual arousal and chances of reaching orgasm.

However, I also believe that it is a form of genital mutilation because it changes and alters the shape of the vagina and can cause health problems in the long-term. Some of these problems include yeast infections, bladder and urinary infections, childbirth complications, and other infections.

Besides that though genital mutilation is a cultural practice still esteemed by many societies, it is undeniably a form of gender based violence. Many women who are victims of FGM are forced into it by their relatives and society and this violates their rights to freedom from violence and freedom to life as the procedure sometimes results in death. Besides that some of the genital mutilation rites are conducted in public places with men watching and this violates rights to privacy.

It is a violation of reproductive rights because it is the yardstick through which ultimate womanhood and sexuality is measured.

It is a form of psychological violence as women who have not pulled their labia are labeled sexually uneducated by their peers and by the men in their lives. In some instances this abuse is so severe that a man will divorce his wife for not having pulled labia and his relatives will verbally abuse the woman who does not have them.

More so as it is practiced, it violates the rights of children.  Article 2 of the Convention on the rights of the child says children should be protected from all forms of mental and physical violence and maltreatment. In most instances, FGM violates all those rights and because it is done without the child’s consent it is a form of physical abuse.

Labia are not what keep a man but it is love and character. It would be unjustified to say that the labia of a woman control a man. Men are also decisive and will stay with a woman that they love with or without elongated labia minora.

I would not encourage my sisters, my friends or any other woman to elongate their labia minora. It’s simply unnecessary and is only a representation of a system that ignores the various sexual, physical and emotional rights of women and thus should be made illegal.

FELLOWSHIPPING: A FADING SHADOW OF CHRISTIANITY?

It is Ironic that Christians from various denominations around Zimbabwe deem their places of fellowship as the only rightful and perfect places of worship, bringing contempt to the rest of other Churches. Aren’t all denominations equal in the sight of God though? Perhaps Christians have lost the sole purpose of worship!

by Michelle Munatswa| Featured Image Credit:www.zinafe.com

My neighbor said something a bit disturbing to me which got me wondering if  Christians really knew the purpose  of going to church. I asked her why her family had not gone to church that day. Her response was that of lack of  transport to go there and l suggested that they go to a neighboring church just for that day as the God they worshipped was the same.

She replied, “What for? It is not my church and I cannot go there, it’s better I stay at home sibili.

This is one ironic thing happening around Zimbabwe where Christians deem their place of worship as the only rightful, perfect place to fellowship. It makes other churches appear bad and ungodly which is against the bible command which states that we are all equal in the sight of the Lord. It raises questions such as, have the Christians lost the sole purpose of worship?

Christian values suggest that we worship the same God and are all in a mission to go to heaven when the world finally comes to an end. We are a family belonging to one God. Although we have different ways of worshiping, our target is still the same, hence Christians should be united.

There is no denomination better than the other and preachers should really teach that. It’s just one’s choice to fellowship at ZAOGA and it does not mean it is now better than AFM or any other church. Churches should come together and be Disciples of Christ and make the whole world come to Christ.

Thousands members of Apostolic Sect at Mafararikwa Shrine in Marange, commonly referred to as "Amapostoli" in Ndebele. Image:relzim.org/ M Chibaya
Thousands members of Apostolic Sect at Mafararikwa Shrine in Marange, commonly referred to as “Amapostoli” in Ndebele. Image:relzim.org/ M Chibaya

But how is that possible when the world sees the way congregants from different denominations view and treat each other. Charity begins at home. How can Christians say they love the non-Christians to an extent of preaching to them yet they cannot love a fellow congregation or place of worship, make fun of it and say negative things about it?

Christians must stop looking at themselves as better than the other. There is nothing wrong with ‘AMAPOSTOLI’ for instance, in their white gowns, fellowshipping under trees as they also  worship the same God. When Christians realize this, the world will be a better place to live in. No one would question the values of Christianity or even look down on God because all will be moving letters about his goodness.

OF SELF BELIEF

…Instead of blaming your parents on how they failed you on what you wanted to do, why not focus on how best you can equip yourself for life…

By Thembinkosi Sayi|@Teesayie
Self belief is a necessity for us all. It is so important that it holds the key to success for an individual and a nation. To believe means confidence in self. There are many things that have not been done or tried simply because people lacked belief. It is for this reason that some say that failure is a sign of trial. On a road to success, belief is the foundation.

According to Mark Tyrrell, many fail to believe in themselves because others did not. So having said that, do not wait for someone`s approval in that you want to achieve. Take a step, boldly with the intent of achieving. Discouragement might flock in from others but be still looking forward to what you want to attain. Discouragement is a sign that you moving the right path because it is absent in the ways of the idle.
Be careful of being failed by others like Barnabas Sibanda, a man from Mpopoma who had invented his own helicopter. He failed to stand the criticism he faced and his dream perished. Discouragement should enforce your noble thoughts.

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Eleanor Roosevelt argues that nobody makes you feel inferior without your consent. This means that for every failure you ought not to blame anyone but yourself. You hold your own destiny. Life is not about excuses and taking responsible of action, picking yourself up and moving on is the principle. Blaming others will not accomplish your dream but rather blinkers.

For example, instead of blaming your parents on how they failed you in life on what you wanted to do because of this and that, why not focus on how best you can equip yourself for life. Life will still need you and thus you have to live by other means.

In self belief, bold decisions are made. Belief requires faith rather than sight. What you see is not what you perceive you do not need belief in doing something common. Think big. Look for what you can do something uncommon but sound and worth the effort.

Fight against all odds. If others have done it before then you can as well do it. Look at Strive Masiyiwa; he faced lot of opposition before he finally got a license. Where would Zimbabwe be without Econet? Think of all the employees. You can make a difference.

It awaits us as Zimbabweans to believe in ourselves even if the government and anyone else do not. Come up with ideas that will take the nation forward. Remember self belief is learnable. We can all be flexible and change, even fly.