The beauty of lifelong school-partnerships

Two heads have always been better than one and just like ordinary people, schools also deserve to find credible partners with whom they can develop with. Two schools can be in some form of ‘marriage’ through which they cooperate on different levels.

Two heads have always been better than one and just like ordinary people, schools also deserve to find credible partners with whom they can develop with.

Two schools can be in some form of ‘marriage’ through which they cooperate on different levels. This union can best be manifested through different activities between the two schools thus growing a lifelong friendship.

This weekend my former school in Uganda, Busoga College Mwiri will have a friendship cricket game with its life long ‘partner’ King’s College Budo. The game is part of activities to mark 100 years since the founding of Mwiri. Budo is slightly an older school having started in 1906.

Over the years these two schools have always celebrated their friendship by playing cricket against each other.

Such a long lasting partnership got me thinking about what schools stand to gain from such an engagement.

I know that VSO, a British NGO is already undertaking efforts to link Rwandan schools with schools in UK. Although such partnerships are good, I believe those between local schools are equally crucial.

A school in Kigali can choose to partner with another in the Northern Province or even one in Kigali itself. For example, Green Hills Academy can decide to partner with Riviera High School.

The two schools can then occasionally meet for debates, quizzes, or academic seminars.

On a lighter note, the two schools can also regularly meet for a football or basketball game. The sweet rivalry between the two schools can only help to better both ends.

The hosting of these friendly games and debates should alternate between the two schools. To spice up things a little, once in a while the teachers of these two schools can decide to play a friendly football game.

Each school can also prepare a music, dance and drama production to present at the other school once in a year. A simple partnership can thus turn into a vital window for competition and development of talents as students look forward to such events to show off their skills to the partner school.

It is better for these partnerships to be formed between schools that share some similarities in order not to strain their relationship. A mixed-gender school is better off partnering with a similar school than with a single gender school.

They should also be relatively of the same quality as far as academics is concerned otherwise one school may view it as a waste of their time to engage in activities with a poor  or higher performing school.

Annual events between partner schools can also go a long way in making the education experience more interesting and fun for the students. They stand to learn a lot from their colleagues during such events and activities.

The key to making such partnerships successful lies in sticking to the objective of maintaining a friendship not a rivalry.

All activities should be aimed at strengthening the relationship between the two partner schools not rivalry that may result in fights after a football game for instance.

Indeed there is so much to gain from such partnerships and schools in Rwanda ought to embrace this idea as soon as possible. This mutual friendship and support allows both schools to see each other grow into formidable institutions.

If indeed two heads are better than one then, you will agree with me that a partnership between two schools is better than none at all.

My prayer is that the love between Busoga College Mwiri and King’s College Budo is replicated in Rwanda’s schools.

ssenyonga@gmail.com

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