March 23, 2011

Play Haters! Village in Fiji bans play after 6 p.m.

From the other side of the globe comes this bizarre story about Namatakula Village in Nadroga, Fiji, where primary and secondary school children are no longer allowed to play after 6 p.m. during the week.

The village headman Jovilisi Natoya told The Fiji Times:

"This is to ensure that the children concentrate on their studies instead of wasting time playing during the evenings... I go around the village every evening to check, and if any child is caught playing after 6pm, then my role as the village headman is to chase them home" (emphasis ours).

Just as we do here in the United States, villagers are casting "study" and "play" as mutually exclusive, lauding the benefits of "study" while entirely disregarding the rich and varied learning opportunities that play presents. And clearly, "study" is something best done indoors at home, where children in Namatakula must now be cooped up every evening, despite their country's tropical climate.

It's a sad world where the adults in charge police the very activites that are essential for our children's health, happiness, and cognitive development. How we wish that the village headman Notoya were instead making evening rounds to knock on doors and commanding children to, "Go outside and play!"

"Don't even THINK about going outside to play! Back to your studies!" Photo by Stephanie Hicks (cc). 

Read the full story in The Fiji Times.

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