TEACHER'S MIND : Does your school have a suggestion box?

ONE day while I was taking a moment outside the classroom, I realised I was standing next to the school’s suggestion box. Out of curiosity I wondered whether it was being used at all by the students. I reached for my key and forced open the box. I quickly realised the folly of my actions when three wasps attacked me. After successfully ducking away from the ferocious insects, I noticed that the box was empty.

ONE day while I was taking a moment outside the classroom, I realised I was standing next to the school’s suggestion box. Out of curiosity I wondered whether it was being used at all by the students. I reached for my key and forced open the box.  

I quickly realised the folly of my actions when three wasps attacked me. After successfully ducking away from the ferocious insects, I noticed that the box was empty. Further inquires revealed that the school authorities did not even have the box’s key.       

The people who had mooted the idea of having a suggestion box for the students had only ended up erecting a nice wasp shelter.

This revealed that the students did not know the purpose of the suggestion box because school authorities had not done enough sensitization.    

A suggestion box is one of the most democratic installations any institution can have. It offers students an opportunity to air out their views, suggestions, complaints or any other information they deem necessary for the school administration.  

It also offers its users the benefit of anonymity; this ensures that the message rather than the messenger is pursued. Many a time, the crux of a message is lost when attention is wrongly focused on the messenger. 

Students who truly understand the use of a suggestion box at their school will always utilise it to the maximum. Instead of silently complaining, students can simply write down complaint and push it into the box.  

The power of the box can also help students to address general problems they face. If hundreds of them can write and fill the box, they are in a better position to demand for a response from the school administration.

This is much better than students suffering in silence and resorting to destructive measures like strikes.  

The school administration should also have the wisdom to regularly check the suggestion box and where possible, address the student’s concerns.

The suggestion box is therefore a good mechanism of keeping a tab on the mood of the student population thus averting disastrous situations.

Sometimes students go as far as complaining to local leaders at the district level yet they could have easily addressed their issues through a suggestion box. The absence or under utilisation of one could explain such scenarios.  

Every school in Rwanda should have a suggestion box and students should be clearly sensitised on its importance as far as their welfare is concerned. In line with this, the next time school inspectors are doing their rounds they should at least inquire about this facility.

Come to think of it, if our President can go around the countryside seeking views of the local people why shouldn’t a school’s administration interest itself in their students views? Suggestion boxes can only be advantageous to both the students and the administration.

ssenyonga@gmail.com

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