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Read this before you ‘buy’ school homework

by Zahid Jadwat

School homework can be an arduous responsibility, especially for parents who are tired after a long day’s work. Many parents opt to get homework, such as essays and speeches, done by others, but this could be robbing children of crucial life skills in the process and be unfair to other learners.

According to Shafinaaz Hassim, an acclaimed author and poet, parents deprive their kids when getting school homework done by someone else. She called out the trend as “corruption”, saying it stems from a “lackadaisical approach to education”.

Hassim took to Facebook to respond to another mum who sought someone who could do their child’s school homework for a fee. In the post, she explained how getting school homework done for kids affected them during examinations and, by extension, later on in life.

In a later interview on Salaamedia, she said, “we need to talk about why there’s this competitiveness with parents wanting to buy the skill elsewhere and then present it to the school. It’s like… why bother to send your child to school anyway?”


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Corruption and buying school homework

Hassim labelled the practice as a form of “corruption”, saying it raised ethical considerations and disadvantaged hardworking peers in the classroom. This, she noted, was apart from the long-term consequences of buying school homework.

“It’s an absolutely serious matter, because what we have is [that] from a young age parents are condoning a form of corruption and taking away a genuine life skill. There’s so much that is considered in an age-appropriate project – the ability to time manage and to present something of your own,” she said.

She said while teachers may be able to discern when school homework tasks are completed by anyone other than the learners themselves, they often experience difficulty proving it. This would then, in many cases, lead to the transgression being allowed to slide.

“This creates an unfair dynamic for kids who are doing the work in the classroom and then the moral dynamic; the dilemma of how wrong and how right is this sort of thing. To a child, you’re teaching them that this is okay, we can get ourselves out of this anxiety of deadlines and we’ll just buy a way out of it,” she said.


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Life skills being robbed

Hassim explained the purpose of school homework and assessments was to assess learners’ capabilities. She said it was also meant to nurture a sense of achievement after successfully completing tasks, which is absent when tasks are delegated to someone else.

“[Projects are] really a nice way to say ‘we want to see what you’re capable of and we trust that you can pull this off’. It’s quite nice when kids come back with a project of their own and that sense of pride and accomplishment is also very special.

She said feeling the sense of accomplishment was part of the education process. Conversely, she said, not allowing children to indulge in their tasks deprived them of an opportunity to grow self-confidence.

“Every child has capacity, she said. “They just need the right inspiration, the right motivation, the right prompts [and] the right tools. It really is about teaching them that skill and making them understand that they’re very capable.”

She said nurturing a sense of capability would go a long way in encouraging children to start their own ventures later on in life. However, depriving them of that would create a habit of reliance on others and make children incapable of fulfilling their roles later on in life.

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