According to the analysis of last year’s national examination results for O’level and Primary Six, most of the best performers were students from faith-based schools. What magic do they use? The answer to this question is simple. They have a spiritual approach to education.
I think it is prudent for the administrators and teachers from the secular schools to borrow a leaf from religious-founded schools in order to achieve excellence.
Faith-based schools are very strict on discipline and they have mechanisms of developing the learners spiritually. It is common knowledge that discipline plays a key role in education. Students who are disciplined are easier to teach because they have a positive attitude towards studies. Their counterparts whose level of discipline is low tend to despise their teachers and they violate the school rules from time to time. What faith-based schools do is that they use religion to inculcate values in the learners which motivate them to work hard and excel.
Religious founded schools make it compulsory for learners to attend prayer services and this enables them to develop a strong faith in God. Students who are strong in faith are self-directed and they work hard to achieve their goals in academics. They put God first in everything that they do at school and they resist temptation to engage in undesirable behaviour that may be detrimental to their studies like breaking school regulations. Secular schools should encourage each student to belong to a specific religious denomination as a way of developing their minds spiritually. The more times they engage in praise and worship, the better they become in their day to day conduct at school.
Each religious denomination should have a patron who should be a member of staff of the school. The patrons should set programes for their groups and ensure that all their members attend prayer services and any other programmes that may be intended to provide spiritual food to them. In most faith-based schools, it is compulsory for the leaners to attend prayer services and other religious programmes. Students from secular schools are compelled to adjust to the religious standards of the faith-based schools once they join them.
If there is a religious vacuum at school, many learners get involved in a lot of mischief which compromises their performance in studies. There is need to encourage learners to participate actively in religious activities so as to set a conducive atmosphere for them to learn.
The patrons of the various religious groups in secular schools should always work closely with the leaders of the sister religious denominations outside school to ensure that some youth priests are invited at school to preach and inspire the learners. It should not only be an internal arrangement whereby the services are conducted by students.
Annointed youth priests are capable of transforming the students’ lives through preaching and prayer and they can also move an extra mile to guide and counsel those who may be insolent as a result of being plagued by depression and mental exhaustion. Such cases cannot be handled by the school authorities alone. This explains the reason why there are more cases of indiscipline in the secular schools than in religious founded schools. It is therefore incumbent on the authorities in the non-religious schools to put emphasis on spiritual teaching in order to register excellent performance of their learners.
All schools have brilliant students who have the potential to excel as long as the circumstances that prevail are favourable. If the school does not emphasise issues of religion, the bright learners can hardly excel. They always succumb to temptations and surrender to bad tendencies.
We should acknowledge the fact that religion transforms students mentally. They develop belief in themselves and get out of their shells for excellence.
The writer is a teacher at Riviera High School