WHETHER or not the school fees paid by parents and guardians to various low cost and high cost schools is worth it is a question that any benefactor should ask.
The lowest fee paid in a high cost private school in Rwanda is Rwf250,000 per term. Schools that run international curricular charge up to Rwf700,000 per term.
Parting with such a huge amount of money is no small feat.
The number of days in a term that students spend in school, settled for serious study in return for the fees they pay, should be contemplated upon by parents and guardians.
I am not saying that fees should be paid according to the number of days that a student spends in school. No. I understand pretty well that there are teachers to be paid whether your child is in school that day or not, electricity fees to be paid and so forth.
My interest is on whether your child utilizes all school days and school facilities for the period that you pay for.
The year 2010, for instance, has 165 school days for Rwandan schools. To my consternation, many students learn for far less days in one academic year, yet they pay for all.
A rather undisputed fact, like a Biblical meta-narrative, is that paying school fees is the most harrowing experience that a parent or guardian can have.
A leading cause of wastage of school days by students is involvement in indiscipline cases. In event of any major indiscipline cases, students are either suspended or expelled from schools. The policy applies across board in private and public schools in Rwanda.
Gottfredson and Others (1989) calculate that in six middle schools in Charleston, South California, students lost 7,932 instructional days –44years to in-school and out-of-school suspensions in a single academic year.
Losing all these days to indiscipline is a devastating scenario that parents and all educators should abhor. Paying for a service that you do not receive obfuscates logic.
Bold steps are needed by parents and school administrators to stem out indiscipline in schools. A constellation of mischievous students find themselves on the move from one school to another, as though they are academic tourists. Most of these students end up brooding frustration and lead frustrated lives.
Resources wasted in educating unfocused and uninterested students can go a long way in improving the lives of families that struggle to pay fees. Some of this money can be used to add some luxuries and one or two knick knacks in the homes.
Another remarkable cause of loss of school days for students is regular leave outs because of sicknesses and attending some family functions.
For sickness, there is little one can do because it is not within the control of anyone. However, students can be spared from some less important family functions like birthday parties and family get-togethers that can be held during holidays.
More importantly, parents and guardians should be firm on their children in order to restrain them from going wayward.
Overprotecting parents make their children stubborn in school and even feign sickness so that they can go home whenever they like. That’s simply summed up as irresponsible parenting.
The author is the Director of Studies at Nu Vision High School, Kabuga