By Mr Pius Muthoka – Head Teacher St Bernadette Mary School
St. Bernadette Mary School just like any other normal school, faces some unique challenges.
The school has 330 pupils.180 boys and 150 girls and around 150 parents. 96% of the parents are illiterate with the remaining 4% being semi- illiterate.
Our six main challenges include:-
1. High level of poverty.
2. High level of illiteracy.
3. Parents belief in witchcraft.
4. Parents negligence to their children (don’t care attitude).
5. Pupils low morale due to the (4) above.
6. Early marriages (a burden to the girl child).
To address the six core problems, as a school,we decided to call for parents meeting in four groups on four different days.
1. Kindergarten parents
2. Class one to three
3. Class four to six
4. Class seven to eight
The essence of the meeting was to:-
(a) Educate the parents on their role on the academia of their children.
(b) Enlighten the parents in the belief of God.
(c) Sensitise them on cleanliness.
(d) Involve them in matters pertaining the school.
(e) Advise them to join evening classes in the school to learn the three basics.
(f) Inform them of the consequences of marrying off girls at their tender age.
(g) Train them on how to motivate and encourage the learners to work harder in-spite of poverty.
Just but to mention a few.
Those who have been frequenting our blog are aware of the following latest cases.
1. Magdalene Kai – A girl in class 8 whose parents wanted to marry her off to an old man.
2. Amina Idd – A girl in class 8 who is always being tormented by demons by seeking services of a witchdoctor whenever she is ill.
3. Cosmos Kakunde – A boy in class 7 who was bitten by a snake and taken to a witchdoctor.
To enable us tackle the challenges,we decided to form a School Management Committee. All parents from each class elected one of them to represent them. We have eleven classes, thus we got 11 parents as class representatives. Plus the school chairman and the headteacher. The School Management Committee comprises of 13 members, who hold a meeting once a term.
The role of the School management Committee :-
1. Co-ordinate major events in the school.
2. Pass information from the SMC to the parents.
3. To ensure that the traditions and standards of the school are maintained.
4. Mentor the pupils (act as role model).
5. Identify and advice the school on admission of needy pupils in the society.
6. Educate, enlighten and sensitize the parents on their role in the school.
7. Guide and counsel pupils in their respective classes.
8. Implement the development projects in the school.
9. Help the school management in cleanliness and discipline of the school fraternity.
10. Motivate and encourage the pupils in their respective classes.
After engaging the parents this term, we realized that the level of discipline and academic performance of the pupils improved drastically.
We are looking forward to an all inclusive form of management.