TEACHER'S MIND : Why religious based schools perform better

IT is not unusual for people to think about the reasons behind a continued pattern of success in any form of human endeavour. In the world of sports for instance, people have wondered why Brazilians are so good at the game of football. Others wonder why the Australians seem spotless at the game of cricket. The story of Jamaican sprinters also remains a mystery. Ethiopians and Kenyans have their national flags around the long distance races.

IT is not unusual for people to think about the reasons behind a continued pattern of success in any form of human endeavour. In the world of sports for instance, people have wondered why Brazilians are so good at the game of football.

Others wonder why the Australians seem spotless at the game of cricket. The story of Jamaican sprinters also remains a mystery. Ethiopians and Kenyans have their national flags around the long distance races.

As a regular reader of this column, I believe you have also thought about the reason why religious based schools tend to always perform so well each time national exams are released. The recently released O level results can bear testimony to this.

10 out of the 20 top performing schools were indeed religious-based schools. These included among others, Petit Seminaire Rwesero, Petit Seminaire Nkumba, Petit Seminaire Ndera, Petit Seminaire Saint Leon Kabgayi, Petit Seminaire Saint Pie X de Nyundo, Petit Seminaire Virgo Fidelis Karubanda, Petit Seminaire Zaza, Petit Seminaire Saint Aloys and Lycee Notre-Dame de Citeaux.

Actually one can be excused for thinking that P.S (Petit Seminaire) stands for Posting Success! And it is not just here. Even in Uganda, schools like Mt. St. Mary’s Namagunga, St. Mary’s College Kisubi, St. Henry’s College Kitovu, Namilyango College, Trinity College Nabbingo and Nabisunsa Girls School are all known to perform exceptionally well year in year out.

With such trends before us, the big question we have to answer now is how they do it. What are these religious schools doing differently in order to maintain such wonderful performances?

The softer thinking would be the fact that they do pray for this success. But then again the bible says God helps those who help themselves. So how are these schools helping themselves in order for God to help them further?

There are two major reasons I can point to explain the consistently wonderful performance. One is the tendency for these schools to have several experienced teachers.

These long serving teachers are usually masters at their vocation of teaching. At the same time, students benefit from the consistency of the teachers.

On the other hand, the private schools are known to switch teachers at a terrible rate. By the time a student sits national exams, he/she has seen so many teachers and has therefore been trying to get used to each new teacher instead of getting familiar with the subject matter.

Religious based schools are often careful when recruiting teachers and they do a good job holding onto these teachers.

This usually entails the provision of accommodation facilities among others. Such fringe benefits tie a teacher to the job for years. And because the teacher is staying close to the school, monitoring of students becomes a much easier job.

No wonder some of the teachers who taught me in Primary One are still teaching at my school (St. Savio Junior School Kisubi, Uganda) which is also a Catholic founded school. 

Secondly, the strict insistence on students’ discipline is indeed the most significant determinant of success in these religious based schools. In these schools, there is never a compromise when it comes to discipline.

As far as discipline is concerned in these schools, all students are considered equal as far as the school rules and regulations are concerned.

In other non-religious schools there is often a tendency for some students to be favoured over others especially where their parents are considered to be wealthy or influential.

Any seasoned educationist will agree with me that success cannot dwell in an environment where discipline is scarce. A child that is not disciplined enough to attend class or respect teachers cannot find the wisdom to spare time for reading in preparation for examinations.

The moment non-religious schools begin to appreciate the basic fact that discipline is the foundation of success they too will start posting very good results at national level examinations.

ssenyonga@gmail.com

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