All schools can excel

Imagine this; all schools having standard classrooms, dormitory facilities, qualified teaching and administration staff members, equipped science laboratories, well-outfitted libraries and everything that can be found in a school. It is highly likely that a head teacher at Bugesera graduated from the National University of Rwanda just like the head teacher in Nyarugenge district. It is all about policies and planning.

Imagine this; all schools having standard classrooms, dormitory facilities, qualified teaching and administration staff members, equipped science laboratories, well-outfitted libraries and everything that can be found in a school.

It is highly likely that a head teacher at Bugesera graduated from the National University of Rwanda just like the head teacher in Nyarugenge district. It is all about policies and planning.

The best schools are famous for their full-bodied academic and non-academic policies. It is these same policies that in turn give rise to institutional cultures that create and enhance serene academic environments.

The secret of great performance lies in a good school culture that encourages continuous self-motivated learning that does not neglect weak students within the school community.

Many times, qualified and experienced teaching staff may not do much on their own. Their effort has to be complimented by the students’ ability to digest, practice and internalize the learned material.

As it is popularly said, teachers are supposed to give only 1/3 of what students are supposed to learn while students work for the remaining 2/3. Going by this principle, most of the schoolwork should be done by the student, meaning the teacher will only guide them then take a back seat while the student goes all the way.

Contrary to this widely accepted principle of teaching and learning, the current crop of students attending even higher institutions of learning want to be spoon-fed.

A spoon-feeding approach to education is a perpetual threat to innovation, invention and development. If humans are trained to recall and recite without developing flexible and critical thinking skills, then robots would as well come in handy.

The other reason why there are disparities in academic achievements of schools is the teaching staff’s unwillingness or sluggishness in the utilization of scholastic resources with which the schools are provided.

The Government has in the past and present continued supplying textbooks and laboratory equipment to schools but it may not be news to learn that most of these are either unutilized or underutilized. In other schools, science practicals are still the distant ambition they hope to achieve; perhaps by the time Vision 2020 is fully realized. Without a doubt, students from these schools cannot do better than those who have had greater exposure.

In schools where teaching is done well and is geared towards excellence in examinations only, frustration comes when the teachers’ predictions of what is to be tested turns out wrong hence leading to poor performance. It is hard to exactly predict what will be tested in national examinations, as examiners are smart enough to go against the tides of guesswork and prediction.

Finally, the major differences in performance emerge depending on the experience and skills of the drivers. A pilot knows where the buttons of the plane are and they will always fly it to the right destination. School pilots (the administrators) who cannot locate all the buttons will always have premature landings or air crashes in form of bleak results.

znyamosi@yahoo.com

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