Should students sign performance contracts with their parents?

Pierre Nzeyimana is a father of three living in Nyakabanda sector of Nyarugenge District. His 16-year-old son Aime Cesaire Mugishawayo emerged the second best performer in O-level last year.
Signing performance contracts would compel students to stay focused on their studies. / Lydia Atieno.
Signing performance contracts would compel students to stay focused on their studies. / Lydia Atieno.

Pierre Nzeyimana is a father of three living in Nyakabanda sector of Nyarugenge District. His 16-year-old son Aime Cesaire Mugishawayo emerged the second best performer in O-level last year.

Nzeyimana told Education Times that one of the secrets behind his son’s success was compelling him to sign performance contracts before going back to school.

“Whenever holidays were coming to the end, the family would organise a small party to celebrate past achievements and agree on the way forward. Then my children would sign performance contracts by detailing how they intend to achieve the set academic targets,” he,” he says.

Nzeyimana says the practice has been on in his family for a decade, and affirms that the fruits are immense. But what do others say about the concept?

According to the performance contracting concept in education report by J.P Stucker and G.R. Hall, such contracts play a big role on the quality of results.

Sifa Uwamariya, a Kimihurura-based parent, says mature students like those in high school and universities should sign performance contracts before going back to school.

“I think it is better if all students have a list of targets at the beginning of the term. This way, they will be focused on what lies ahead while parents concentrate on providing ample facilitation,” she explains.

Uwamariya says that she makes verbal contracts with her children because they are still in primary school, but she plans to design good contracts that each child will sign when they go to secondary schools.

“With contracts a student will stay away from bad groups because they (contracts) will also have targets on discipline,” she hopes.

James Harorimana, a marketing officer based in Muhanga District, says that performance contracts are a good initiative that all parents and children should embrace to take the quality of education higher.

He says that it would be better if students submitted a copy of the contract to their teachers so that they can be monitored and reminded whenever they divert from their goals.

“Contracts also show students how much responsibility is on their shoulders because when they set targets and fail to hit them, they will have to make fresh commitments and come up with different measures to achieve them the next time,” Harorimana says.

Jean de Dieu Ngaboyisonga, a high school teacher at ASPEK Kibungo in Ngoma District, says performance contracts would be helpful to teachers.

“Sometimes teachers are blamed when students fail. But where a parent sends a student to school with such a contract that student will work harder and be more ambitious,” he argues.

Solange Kamariza, a university student at INES Ruhengeri, observes that performance contracts inspire competitiveness between students.

She says when they are many children in a family and the parents promise an award for whoever gets good grades, all children invest more effort to get the top grades so that they impress their parents and get rewarded.

For Paul Mvukiyehe, a businessman in Kirehe District, stakeholders in education should always think of new initiatives to make the sector more vibrant.

“We all acknowledge that education is the cornerstone of everything we do; where there is quality of education no doubt that people of all categories will be nurtured. That quality of education will be delivered with initiatives like performance contracts,” he says.

The State Minister for Primary and Secondary Education, Isaac Munyakazi, says that the initiative would be helpful.

“The culture of signing performance contracts is among the pillars that enabled development of this country. This culture has descended from government leadership to households. So I think that parents’ responsibilities should not be limited to taking children to school, but also ensure they learn other aspects of life,” he says.

According to the minister, performance contracts between students and parents would help students to focus on studies.

“I support the idea that the ministry should conduct a campaign to promote the performance contracts culture between students and parents and ensure effective monitoring for their implementation,” he says.

 

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