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Tuesday, February 16, 2010

All schools must be self-contained

EDUCATION cannot be the privilege of a few.

A progressive society is a society where its people have equal access to education.

In a developed world, almost every school is given the choice to excel with adequate educational props such as teachers and facilities.

Getting enrolled in top or selected schools is not an issue as almost every school has more or less the same constituents of facilities that makes every parent and student happy.

The three factors that determine a school of choice for students and parents here are: students enrolled are relatively bright; teachers are subject specialists or trained to teach their respective majors, and the facilities to enhance education are generally adequate.

Enrolling bright students in a school would make the teaching process very much easier for teachers compared with the situation in ordinary schools.

In the latter case, we often see some dedicated teachers having to work extra hard to make students achieve better results.

Almost all top and selected schools normally have subject specific trained teachers as opposed to many ordinary schools.

This of course helps the teachers and students as it favours the teaching and learning process.

A survey of most rural schools and some ordinary urban schools will see teachers teaching subjects they are not trained to handle.

This could hamper the teaching process and also affect the performance of students at these schools.

Teachers cannot be blamed for this trend as they have no choice.

Some ordinary schools do not have enough facilities such as proper halls for special functions to be held, sports fields, science labs and multimedia facilities.

Some rural schools do not even have electricity and water supply.

Nonetheless, dedicated heads of school and teachers will improvise to make students comfortable.

These teachers work hard under a lot of constraints and with inadequate resources.

Many are still dedicated to their profession despite these limitations.

In most ordinary schools, teachers and students still aspire to do their best.

For instance, in some rural settings we have students who travel more than two hours by boat to reach schools and there are teachers who are placed in remote areas with little access to urban facilities.

These teachers are our patriots who are selfless, willing to work under adverse conditions and toil in schools where students are relatively poor, weak in their studies and live far away.

Naturally, these teachers have to be rewarded for their sacrifice even though they are not teaching in top or selected schools and their students are not top achievers.

It is no doubt that bright students enrolled in selected schools have performed well in exams but this does not mean that students enrolled in ordinary schools cannot achieve the same.

A lot more can be achieved if ordinary schools have trained teachers and the same facilities and opportunities given to some of the top schools in the country.

The Government has done a lot to improve the conditions of normal and rural schools.

It, of course, can do a lot more to provide extra funds to improve the education standards in ordinary schools so that they can compete with the many other successful schools in the country.

If every school is made a “self-contained” school and carries the image of a school of choice for students and parents, no teacher or student would feel neglected or marginalised.

This should be the ideal roadmap by the ministry to enhance the education process in the country.



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