There are days you walk through the internet and want to turn back to the right path, but there is nowhere else to go so you just walk right through rolling your eyes at the unreasonableness that is in human beings today.
Let us begin with this story of schools that have decided to change the real meaning of domestic tourism in an effort to extort hard-working parents into believing the new found ways to experience Kenya. The new trend in town is in schools taking advantage of parents, especially with Kenya’s current economy, by brainwashing them and their children with organising school trips to the mall. Yes, expansive, concrete buildings filled with all manner of consumerism in an effort to enlighten the children on the new found ways of learning about their beautiful country Kenya. To make it worse, the schools are charging not less than Ksh, 2000 to visit Kenya’s malls. What is in the fun of spotting stuffed animals while riding on plastic/metallic structures in the form of animals figures then go home and say how you had fun at the mall with your friends? A mall where your parents can take you in the evening or even during the weekends. This is extortion and the board of such schools should be warned and even changed.
Our beautiful country is not lacking in places to visit that can be considered schools trips and malls should not be one of them. Growing up, I can say we did not have Thika Road Mall as the only known mall back then was The Mall in Westlands. I am very sure children nowadays do not understand how Uchumi was always the number one place to go shopping as most of their branches were huge referred to Uchumi Hyper. Even when we had this we were still not taken for school trips to observe the changing growth in our country. In my opinion, the teachers are encouraging materialism in these young children.
Going to Giraffe Centre or Nairobi National Park 20 years ago was something to look forward when I was in primary school. I was fortunate enough to have the chance to visit wild places almost every single term. It was even in the school calendar and every closing year the newsletter included all school trips that were going to be done by all the classes. No class was subjected to mall trips, even if there was only The Mall back then.
After getting over schools today and wondering whether I should start homeschooling early before I give lectures to teachers on how thoughtless they are being with their so-called school trips to the mall, let’s look at only three options where schools can take their students for fun and educative trips.
The all park access card
Wildlife Clubs of Kenya (WCK) has made it easier for children to visit National Parks and Reserves in Kenya without paying hefty fees. For schools to take advantage of such a thoughtful offer, they will need to register the school and only pay Ksh. 1000. This is an annual fee. Each student is then required to pay Ksh. 30 to be issued with a card which grants them access to any National Park in Kenya at Ksh. 60 (note, this vary per national park). So why again are these schools taking children to the mall? With just this card, they can take the children to well-known parks in Kenya at very affordable prizes while being of service to the nation. Do these teachers know they are nurturing a generation that will need to be in the know of their environment, not just academic excellence?
Apart from this, the school will get three issues of Komba, free lectures and video/slide shows and be part of young nature enthusiasts.
Let’s go feed giraffes
You only need to issue a one week notice when as a school you are organising an education trip to the Giraffe Centre. The notice will give the children free access to feed giraffes including fun sessions on conservation and the environment not forgetting learning about the tall blondes. If at all the school wakes up and tells the parents they would love to take the students to see giraffes, the students only need to pay Ksh 50 each.
History is important
Children need to be aware of where they came from not where we are at right now with malls and skyscrapers everywhere. They need to understand that life during their great-great-grandparents time led to the luxuries they enjoy now such as the freedom to be who they are without facing colonial expression.
A visit to the Nairobi National Museum is a great place to start a history (Social Studies) lesson. Students only need to pay Ksh 150 and includes a guided and educative tour in the museum and the Snake Park.
When schools extort parents to pay Ksh 2000 to visit malls, I am not sure they are aware that we have schools which would like to visit national parks in Kenya, see giraffes and learn about those who fought for their independence but cannot be able to afford the normal entrance fee leave alone having a bus to take them to these places.
I am disappointed by teachers who think going to the mall is a form of domestic tourism.