TEACHER'S MIND : We need to evaluate academic goals

HOPING that you all had a wonderful Christmas, I can proceed to wish you a prosperous New Year 2010. Normally at the dawn of each New Year people are known to make resolutions or set new targets that are to be pursued vigorously as the New Year progresses. There is no doubt that the culture of resolution setting is a good one. It basically helps us to lead a more focused life in a given year.

HOPING that you all had a wonderful Christmas, I can proceed to wish you a prosperous New Year 2010. Normally at the dawn of each New Year people are known to make resolutions or set new targets that are to be pursued vigorously as the New Year progresses.

There is no doubt that the culture of resolution setting is a good one. It basically helps us to lead a more focused life in a given year.

However before one can embark on setting new goals, there is a need for a thorough evaluation of the goals that were set in the previous year. This is based on the assumption that indeed some targets were set in the previous year.

Even where no targets were technically set, we can still look at the different activities that were undertaken and ask ourselves the key questions concerning the degree of success that was achieved for any of the different projects.

We need to check whether we managed to achieve what we set out to do and if not we should ask ourselves why. New and better strategies can them be devised based on this evaluation.

A lot happened in the year 2009 in the education sector of this country and it is therefore imperative for all stakeholders to take a keen look back at this year (that ends today) to see what happened and how it happened.

This process of evaluation should be undertaken by all stakeholders in the education sector.

At the top level the government under the Ministry of Education should evaluate its major projects like the One Laptop Per Child project to see whether everything is proceeding as planned.

The Nine Year Basic Education programme was also launched in 2009 and it has been met with some challenges key of which was the shortage of classroom blocks.

Community efforts have gone a long way in correcting this deficiency but more needs to be done if this project is to be a success.

The on-going English language programme for teachers is another major project that ought to be monitored and evaluated if the best results are to be achieved.

The first phase of the project was faced with the problem of absenteeism by the teachers being trained. Such an issue needs to be examined and addressed before the second phase of the project kicks off in January 2010.

At the mid-level point, schools also need to look back and see how they fared in 2009 and search for new strategies that can engender a better performance in all areas during the year 2010.

School administrators should concern themselves with ways of improving both the teachers and students welfare if better results are to be expected in the New Year.

On the other hand teachers need to review their performance contracts and see where things did not go well so that a better job can be done in the coming year.

Those struggling to switch from French to English need to look back and see whether they are indeed coping with this linguistic challenge.

The work seems cut out for the students since at the end of the year a report card detailing one’s performance is given.

In some cases, teachers and head teachers relevant comments on academic performance as well as one’s general conduct in school. One can therefore use this assessment to get an insight into whether what they set out for has been achieved.

Parents too should not be left out in this process of evaluation. A wise parent should look back and analyse the performance of their children. Did they perform as expected?

Do you think you are getting value for your money from the school? These are some of the questions you can ask yourself before setting new resolutions.

Next week we shall look at the process of resolution setting. Happy New Year 2010!

ssenyonga@gmail.com

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