TEACHER'S MIND : New schools should market themselves better

THE fall of the Berlin wall 20 years ago marked the fall of communism as an ideology that can stand the test of time. Since then, capitalism has been forging ahead at full speed.  Even the recent global credit crisis does not seem to have watered down arguments in favour of capitalism.Here in Africa, governments slowly started embarking on liberalisation of their economies and the education sector was not left out.

THE fall of the Berlin wall 20 years ago marked the fall of communism as an ideology that can stand the test of time.

Since then, capitalism has been forging ahead at full speed.  Even the recent global credit crisis does not seem to have watered down arguments in favour of capitalism.

Here in Africa, governments slowly started embarking on liberalisation of their economies and the education sector was not left out.

With the rebirth of Rwanda after 1994 so many new schools came up owned by enterprising individuals and organisations willing to correct the damage the sector endured during the country’s dark hour.

Although many of the new schools have taken shape after 15 years, more are still emerging to compete and provide better educational facilities.

The trouble though is that some of them have failed to grasp the basics of how capitalism operates in order to develop their schools.

Usually the end of year holiday implies that a good number of new students will be in need of schools to join for the next academic year. Others will be interested in switching from one school to another.

The proprietors of most new schools have failed to adequately market their schools to prospective students.

Students searching for schools to join are often left at the mercy of word of mouth from friends and relatives who know something or someone connected to these schools.

Actually I have heard more radio adverts for schools offering English lessons than complete schools ready to take on primary or secondary students. Yet so many new schools are being established every now and then. 

With capitalism, new schools should invest in marketing themselves to recoup their investments and compete with the traditional government schools. The older schools tend to have longer histories and myths with which they attract prospective students.

New schools on the contrary lack such advantages and often have to wait for desperate students who usually come with very low grades. It is therefore imperative for them to market themselves better if they are to attract high-quality students.

There are several ways of marketing a new school but many are not being tried here.

Activities like open days where parents and the general public can come and witness the various activities that take place in a given school are one of the best ways to market a school.

When marketing a school, its core merits should be stated clearly and made public knowledge to anyone who cares to find out. Things like the facilities available and the quality of the teaching staff and the subject combinations offered should also be clearly outlined for prospective students to make informed choices. 

The above can be done by producing brochures about the school. In this era of information technology it is actually smart for the school to establish a website where all this information can be posted and spiced with beautiful graphics of the school.

I recently did a Google search on some schools around Kigali. I discovered that Riviera High School recently launched a website that offers all the information one would need to know about the school.

From the owners of the school, the board the staff even their recent academic achievements are all their at www.rivierahighschool.org Green Hills Academy also has a nice website at www.greenhillsacademy.rw
As a school determined to serve not just Rwandans a website is really a smart move and I pray that other schools can take cue of this.

Our president has done a lot to put Rwanda on the digital map and it is sad that our schools have not bothered to open websites to market themselves to the world.

If students can now access their national exam marks online, why should they not be able to find the schools to join by visiting their websites? Anyone with basic IT knowledge will tell you how easy it is to start a webpage.

ssenyonga@gmail.com

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