Make workplace family friendly
THE EDITOR, Sir:
The recent headlines concerning the plight of caregivers of so-called 'barrel children' bring home the point that we are now living in an age when the nuclear family is no longer the norm and we must look at other ways of nurturing our offspring.
We have continued to plan our education system as though we are still dealing with children who come from stable, middle-class homes where they are regularly monitored and supervised.
In most cases, however, even when parents are present, their work keeps them away from home for most of the day, travelling long distances to where they can find employment. Add to that the fact that many of the students have to spend a large amount of time travelling to schools outside of their communities and we have a recipe for failure and delinquency.
One solution would be to try to make the workplace more family friendly. I know of a few cases where this has worked in a limited way. Children are directed to go to the place where a parent works and somewhere is found to allow them to do homework, or simply play under supervision, until it is time to go home. Very few employers are progressive enough to entertain this sort of thing, however.
The only solution is to invest more heavily in our schools and use them as the main agent of nurturing our children by keeping them in a controlled learning environment for longer periods.
R. HOWARD THOMPSON