Aug 5, 2013, 9:29 AM
Their 100% result above other schools has placed this school in a very good position in the country. Universities, private schools, tertiary institutions are now moving fast to admit children from Methodist school. Society and Development has returned with the reasons as to why the school has no poor record in both their exams. Mrs. Hannah Harding, a wonderful principal gives her views on the why of their chain successes in the school. Read on and make your decision:
S&D: What is the prompting factor behind the 100% pass in your school?
Mrs. Harding: There is no magic at The Gambia Methodist Academy that enhances a 100% in getting such good results. The credit firstly goes to the students themselves. If you have a set of students who do not have regard for their work, regardless of how much cajoling you do they will not succeed. They have developed over the years, the appetite and hunger for learning, hence having students whom are willing to learn. These will appreciate the knowledge passed on to them as half of the work is done. If you have a set of students and you do not have an equally dedicated staff you cannot achieve such result. If teachers are always absent from work, always skipping classes, exercises, refusing to develop themselves academically, teachers who are easily contented with 5 to 10 years notes then you cannot achieve a good academic record.
I am also giving credit to the parents. Education is not cheap our fees are not that low, books not that low, the upkeep of their kids is not that easy, they have made that sacrifice to send their kids daily. Majority of our children is regular and punctual and we give the credit to the parents. Truancy is very minimal. We do not have students who scale the fence or run from school. These are factors including good environment that has helped us over the years at both levels to get good results.
S&D: What makes you about your staff?
Mrs. Harding: I am pleased to say that The Gambia Methodist Academy has been blessed over the years with a hard working set of teachers. Our staff turn over is very low. We have a set of teachers who have served the school for over five years plus the students have been able to achieve quite an impressive result over the years.
S&D: Are you as a staff complacent about your results?
Mrs. Harding: We are not as a staff easily satisfied with our success story. We see each year's result as a challenge for us to work even harder and we throw the challenge also to the students for them to try and surpass their predecessors. We are happy the students always take up the challenge. For example; this year we have produced 13 candidates who have scored Aggregate 6. Presently, we have started challenging the present Grade 9s to work even harder to get twice this number.
S&D: What is the other secret you would say is responsible for their success?
Mrs. Harding: The parents also are factors to organizing extra classes after school and we think that the results go to show that these classes are also a contributing factor to the good performance of the students. The class is meant to re-enforce what has been taught to them during normal school period. It allows even the slow learner to grasp the main ideas that are put across to them. To the end of day the day, they go home saturated even if they do not study at home what they gain from the school still remain and proves useful and then excel.
S&D: What does it take to let your work become easy?
Mrs. Harding: For my job to be easy, I need to have a very supportive and contented staff. If my staff is not content then my job becomes difficult. Unfortunately not all their demands could be met but I am happy that I have a cooperative team and working hard to make sure that they are happy and I would not be stressed as well. Also it is not easy to get qualified and dedicated teachers, particularly in the Sciences.
S&D: What don't you like for your children at school most?
Mrs. Harding: I don't like to see the children unattended to. I am always happy when visitors come and they think the school is on holiday due to the silence in the school. They are always busy with their work.
S&D: As a woman educator people say you have excelled ahead of your male predecessors, how come?
Mrs. Harding: It is wrong personally to associate success to one individual. Those who thought that loosing one principal at the beginning of a term would bring set back to results are wrong. They do not know how we operate here, they don't understand. The praise goes to all of us not just the head. I only provide leadership and try to be a role model.
S&D: What do you remember most in your eleven years at Methodist?
Mrs. Harding: I don't remember being absent from work due to poor health. I don't come late to school, when I come there is no fun time but work, I work beyond the closing time. And I see it as my duty once I occupy my seat. I work with a lot of passion and I enjoy it and I think the staff observes this so they comply. This is the secret of the teamwork that I will remember about the school. The praise is for all of us.
S&D: Can you tell me briefly about your schools' result in brief?
Mrs. Harding: We have gone beyond passes, we are now looking at Credits. The Senior school rating in terms of credits goes this way; English Language we got 99%, Literature 97%, Physics 97%, Biology 97%, Core Science 93%, Agricultural Science 98%, Food and Nutrition, Clothing and Textile, Home Management all 100%, Commerce, Business Management, History, Principle of Cost Accounting all 100% and French, a foreign language they got 94%.
Mrs. Harding: It is for you and others to judge. We can't be vein hearted to say we are the best but we are happy that we are producing very good students whom we believe will come back and help the country.
S&D: Some say you take the cream of students that is one big factor for your 100% success, is it true?
Mrs. Harding: Some say they credit of the good performance should not be attributed to us. They are saying that the school has the cream of students but I don't believe there is a cream of students but if there is then we are happy that these students are put in our care and we develop them to a greater height than when they were entrusted in our care.
S&D: Are you thankful to anyone or group?
Mrs. Harding: The Management of the Point Newspaper, I must thank. It feels good to be appreciated. The management has always kept a close eye and given us a tap on the back. We thank them for their support. I would also like to thank the general public for all the congratulatory messages and calls that we received when the results were out.
And I thank and bless our children in particular as they strive to learn and become the leaders of tomorrow.