Teacher’s Mind:School owners, change your mentalities

I really hope that proprietors of schools in Rwanda take time to read the whole length of this piece. This is because any wise man would at least take time to listen to another.

I really hope that proprietors of schools in Rwanda take time to read the whole length of this piece. This is because any wise man would at least take time to listen to another.

I have over time observed and studied how private schools are run and why some of them succeed while others fail.

I hereby declare that the success or failure of a private school often lies in the mentality espoused by its owner.

This is because the owner who may or may not be the head teacher usually has too much influence in the way ‘his’ business is managed.

Consequently, this will affect so many facets of the school either positively or negatively. 

For example, I have noticed that a number of school owners are so obsessed with what I consider today’s profits at the expense of tomorrow’s fortune.

They do not care about raising the quality standards of their school but in simply accumulating more numbers of students since each student translates into money in the bank.

To this end therefore, they seem to smile each time an opportunity to make ‘easy’ money presents itself even when it has got a negative effect on the long term legacy of the school.

Such characters do not mind when students delay to report on the first day of school because this means less food will be prepared for the few students available. And millions will be made because those who come later will still have to pay fees to cover all the days of the term.

In the wise sense, students ought to be compelled to be at school on the first day so that studies can kick off without delay.

A school can for example demand that those who show up three days later be accompanied by a parent to explain the cause of the delay.

Again, the money minded school owner is often quick to let all the students go home after examinations so that a whole week is turned into a money minting moment with less food being given to those who remain while others go yet they pay school fees to feed for the whole term.

In this one week, money is saved off food, firewood, water and so many other daily costs. Yet student who pay for this week are at home when they would have been going on with extra curricula activities as they wait for their report cards.

In some extreme cases, such school owners will even let expelled students to return because they are only looking at the money they will bring along and not the ill manners they may spread in the school and tarnish its name.

Others simply admit every Tom, Dick and Harry without cross checking whether they have presented genuine documents. Such schools end up acting as havens for all sorts of vagabonds and report card fraudsters.

They take in all unruly and academic rejects from other schools without second thought since it’s only the money they are interested in.

In such schools, investment in long term assets and structures is almost unheard of. Money is only released in times of an emergency. No investment is geared towards boosting the image of the school in the long run.

My advice to such school owners is to invest in improving the standards of their school because in most cases with high standards one can charge high fees and will not have parents complaining. Just look at Riviera High School or Green Hill Academy to get my point.

Efforts should be made to improve the discipline, smartness and above all the academic standards of the school. With all these in place, the school will become an attractive brand that brings in respectable income for the owner.

Do not ask me why a Mercedes Benz costs more than a Toyota but continues to attract buyers each day. Try and turn your school into a Mercedes not just a bicycle!

ssenyonga@gmail.com

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