As part of activities commemorating this year’s World Day for Prevention of Child Abuse, a Non Governmental Organization, A Mother’s Love Initiative, has launched the “Hurried Child Project”, a documentary detailing the dangers inherent in the act of rushing children through schools.
The documentary is a collection of interviews and excerpts on the history, root causes, predisposing factors, maintaining factors and the consequences of hurrying a child through childhood as perceived by the victims, the perpetrators and the system that has promoted the hurried child syndrome in Africa.
The NGO’s Head of Research and Projects Development, Mr Mohammed Ademola explained that the documentary was put together to reduce the trend and give African children a chance to enjoy their childhood.
“Every child deserves quality time in their formative years and the opportunity to relive their childhood memories, we must come to agree that the right direction is far more important than speed” he said
In a keynote address, a Senior Lecturer in the Department of Arts and Social Science Education in the University of Lagos, Dr. Olumide Ige who noted that the Hurried Child Syndrome is not peculiar to Nigeria alone, but occurs throughout Africa said it was time to halt the trend to ensure the psychological, social and mental well being of the child
“The child is a child, the child is not a miniature adult, and that is why the word of a child and the memory is different from that of the adult” Dr Ige stated.
In her remarks, the Lagos State Commissioner for Education, Mrs Folashade Adefisayo who noted that the national policy on education is against the Hurried Child Syndrome, pointed out that it was however difficult to enforce because many parents and schools collude in perpetuating the trend.
She said: “It is a difficult thing to enforce, parents don’t listen and schools are hiding it from us, there are many schools that don’t have primary 6 anymore, we know, but whenever we go to monitoring and inspections, they pretend, they coach the children to lie and many parents are in support of this, so, we are in a difficult and volatile environment, so, in fighting this, it is more a question of moral suasion, and not enforcement”
On her part, the wife of the Lagos State Governor, Dr Mrs Ibijoke Sanwo-Olu, who was represented by Mrs Edith Egube, commended the NGO for championing the cause of children, called for more advocacy to check the Hurried Child Syndrome, which is a form of child abuse.
“It is a fact that the Hurried Child turn out to be half baked, which eventually will pose a serious challenge to the society, we must continue therefore to play up advocacy on the need to guide parents, teachers and the society on how to avoid the trap of hurrying our children” she canvassed.
A certified therapist on child and family wellbeing, who is the brain behind the Hurried Child project, Mrs Hanatu Enwemadu said she got the inspiration for the project while taking her own children to school
The World Day for the Prevention of Child Abuse is commemorated every November 19 in synergy with the Anniversary of the Convention on the Rights of the Child to create a culture of prevention of all forms of child abuse.