Every school day, 13-year-old Liseli Nyambe is always looking forward to going to a play park near her school in Zambia’s capital, Lusaka.
This is because aside from being a place for relaxation, the serene environment in the park, which is located in Lusaka’s Longacres area, also provides Nyambe and her peers with space to study.
“We are expected to leave school premises immediately after class and some of us come to the park to write homework and study,” she explained.
Nyambe went on to narrate how the play park has been beneficial to her with regard to enhancing her performance in class.
“My performance in class has improved as a result of the time spent studying from here,” she said.
And Nyame’s schoolmate Catherine Chibwe said a good number of girls from their school prefer studying from the play park because it also offers them a chance to share ideas about schoolwork.
“One is not expected to grasp everything that is shared in class because of the limited time. Here, we are able to assist one another with schoolwork.
Those that are good in math for instance help others that have challenges,” said Chibwe.
She also revealed that spending time at the play park has not only helped her catch up in subjects that she normally has challenges with but also accorded her the opportunity to play.
“It has now become a custom for us to come to the park every day after school. I enjoy being on the swings after studying,” she enthused.
While both Nyambe and Chibwe insisted that the reason they study from the play park is because it is an ideal setting, others are of the view that schoolgirls that use the leisure spot for studying are not given adequate time to study from home.
“I think it is particularly difficult for the girl child to study from home because they are expected to do a lot of house chores,” said sixteen-year-old Owen Chisha, also a resident of Lusaka.
Chisha added that by the time a girl is done with house chores, she is exhausted and is unable to concentrate on schoolwork.
“This is why a lot of girls end up not doing well in their academic endeavors,” he asserted.
He noted that while the idea of play parks is good as it helps balance a child’s life, there is a need to invest in more libraries so as to encourage more girls to concentrate on their studies.
“Play parks can serve as distractions for girls as they are frequented by a lot of people. There is a need to have more libraries so that girls are able to study in a safer environment,” Chisha observed.
Chisha thoughts were also shared by a child’s rights organization operating in Zambia, which also stressed the need for sensitizing parents and guardians so that they can accord girls more enough time for their studies.
“It is not enough to take a girl child to school. They (girls) have to be accorded enough time to study, just like boys. Depriving girls quality study only works to defeat the whole idea of advancing a girl child’s access to education,” said Media Network On Child Rights and Development Executive Director Henry Kabwe. Enditem