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The consumption of alcohol and drugs has hitherto been a problem only among secondary school students. But now it is experienced even in primary education establishments
A week ago, the community of Inhagóia A was appalled to discover a group of Grade 5 students between the ages of 12 and 15 years unconscious, apparently from drinking alcohol.
In addition to their critical condition, they had with them large sums of money whose source is still unknown. Fearing the worst, the local residents took the children to hospital, where they underwent detoxification.
Students in school uniform weaving around drunk are common not only in this neighbourhood, but in others in Maputo too. When they are not detected by school guards, they end up in classrooms where they disturb the teaching environment, to the detriment of the teacher and other pupils.
Approached on this subject, the deputy director of Nsalene district Primary School 2 Henrique Chemane, said that the increasing number of students drinking alcoholic beverages was worrying.
Last year, disciplinary action was taken against pupils who were in school under the influence of alcohol on three occasions, and this year, a group of three students was revealed to be in possession of drugs on school premises.
“Students drink in the hallways. Previously, we had serious problems with the night class. We identify outbreaks and try to control the situation, but we’re aware that things happen without our knowledge,” Chemane said.
Classroom directors and other teachers are responsible for assisting students who are found to be consuming alcoholic drinks, and for imposing sanctions.
“The management of the school has entrusted us with the task of dealing with these matters and we generally advise on the consequences of involvement in drugs. Punishments like cleaning school premises have served as a warning to other students,” Professor André Vilanculos notes.
Drinks and drugs in the fifth grade
When a student is found under the effects of alcohol or in possession of alcoholic beverage, it is usually suspected that he or she has acquired them in the tented stalls near the school. This is not the case of the Complete Elementary School Unit “2”, where products are purchased in private residences located in the immediate vicinity.
The establishments located around the school sell only food products and the stalls that sell alcoholic beverages are distant.
According to 9th and 10th Grade physics teacher André Vilanculos, a student he found under the influence of alcohol confessed that he bought the drink at the house of an uncle behind the school, who also sells drugs.
“It’s staggering to see a group of uniformed students coming out of a [private residence] house altered in their behaviour,” he said.
The assistant director of the school said that the houses in question had not yet been identified, but that the task was being undertaken with local structures.
Drugs inside the notebook
Grade 10 student L. Carolina recounts how: “One day, I borrowed a fellow-pupil’s notebook to take home. When I opened it, I found some leaves in the middle. My mother said they were drugs and told me to throw them away. “
She recounts how, in order to disguise alcohol, her fellow-pupils buy a bottle of milk and replace the contents with alcohol so they can drink freely in the schoolyard.
Students contacted by Noticias reported that fellow-pupils drink drinks like Zed, Royal, Temptation and Lord Gin, which are affordable but high in alcohol.
Students who consume alcoholic beverages off the school grounds then enter classrooms often insult their classmates and teachers, disrupting classes.
10th-grader M. Acácio said fights among pupils are often caused by drugs or alcohol.
A student who lives near the school says that drinks cost between 45 and 50 meticais.
“Every day there are students who ‘gazetam’ [skip] the last class and head to a house where they drink and smoke cigarettes,” 17-year-old student R. Abilio reports.
Long-serving school guard Antonio Muhate says that students do not drink in his presence for fear of reprisals. “They put the drink in their briefcases and consume it in the toilet,” he said.
He says that he insists students do not to stray down that path but rather concentrate on their studies as guarantor of their future.
“I tell them to study so they do not suffer, because it is at school where they will build a good future,” Muhate says.
Lectures are the answer
To address the problem and restore a good learning environment, the school board organises lectures on Wednesdays in class time, and is also working with associations that deal with drug-related issues.
“We recently had talks with the Saber é Viver [To Know is to Live] Association, focused on the paediatric treatment of HIV and reducing the stigma associated with the disease, which means that we also deal with other ills to which students are vulnerable,” the deputy director said.
It is an effort that relies heavily on the cooperation of parents and caregivers, he added.Source: Notícias
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