There is no doubt that national development cannot be attained without good education. For there to be development of any form (be it individual or collective), there must be a good level of education. There is a need to have a very educated and skilled populace to steer the development aspirations of a nation.
Cognizant of this, the young people of this country yearn for an education system which exposes them to the relevant and required knowledge, skills, expertise and knowhow. It is a fact that every sector of society requires people – young and old – who are knowledgeable and skillful to spearhead any form of progress to be attained.
Having realized this, and seeing that most of our schools in this country are struggling to provide the platform and expertise to create this, it is imperative for schools to learn best practices from each other. One way to do that is to learn and implement good practices of other schools and endeavor to have a harmonious way of doing things towards one goal or objective: success.
It is undeniable that for the past few decades, Nusrat Senior Secondary School has been doing extremely well in the external examinations, and has impacted positively in the development of this country, it will be of benefit; therefore, to inform the society and the schools in particular, what Nusrat has been doing differently thus giving her students the ability to be doing well in the external exams. It is for this reason that I am coming up with this new initiative, to write through this medium, a letter exposing what is it that the school does differently. The intention is for other schools to copy the good practices; all geared towards national development.
Of course, there are other schools which are doing excellently in the external exams, and their model needs to be studied and copied by the rest, but having been a teacher at Nusrat for the past fifteen or so years, I know Nusrat better than any other school. Thus, I am starting with Nusrat. Perhaps later, I will go to other good schools also, find out what they do to succeed and write it for everyone to learn and copy.
The purpose of this exercise is not to bring a competition between and among schools. It is not geared towards fueling rivalry or hatred; or to compete for students. This exercise is informed only by the fact that every year, thousands of students sit for the West Africa Examination Council’s external exams and fail. Or if not fail outright, come out with grades that can neither take them to university of earn them a job.
These huge numbers are what propelled me to think about the issue (it is frightening when you meditate on it and envision what could happen) and try to come up with solutions. I am not naïve to think that this is the best solution or that it will have a miraculous effect, but I am confident that if it is seen in its proper light and utilized sincerely, it can have some positive impact.
That is the reasoning behind this initiative. It is meant to create a learning platform for all those who are in the education sector or those who are either directly or indirectly interested in the promotion of education. Thus, Nusrat is the pilot project so to speak, and other schools will be approached in due course.
As this is intended to be a platform for learning, I have decided to make it weekly write-up on a few thematic areas. These will be scrutinized in some detail and presented systematically for easy comprehension and consumption by both the public and the educational institutions.
These thematic areas will include, but will not be limited to: leadership and its styles, academics, issues of discipline, curriculum development, method of teaching, relationship between the administration and individual teachers, teacher recruitment and maintenance, learning styles, assessments, extracurricular and co-curricular activities and so on.
As I have been teaching in this school for some time now, I have firsthand knowledge of how these themes are in the school. Thus, I will be using my personal experience to bring to light salient issues of the operations of the school.
At the end of a reasonable period, it is envisioned that the other schools would have copied some of the salient points and implemented them in their schools. These schools will then observe how those new things they learnt have impacted (or not) on their performance. If they have positive impacts – however small – they should entrench them in their schools and perhaps find ways to improve on them. If they don’t, then they should discard them and look for others that will do.
Also, it is expected that school administrators who find these thematic areas important, will take time to go and visit said schools in order to learn these practices firsthand in order to be in a better position to implement them.
It is expected that within a reasonable time frame, the performance of Gambian students in the external examination would improve greatly. This will be of benefit to everyone and the nation as a whole.
A Humble Servant of the Nation!