May 5, 2008, 7:08 AM
This is especially true for students who used to trek long distance from home to school.
The case of Region 4 is a development to draw lessons from as our nation strives to attain economic superpower status.This is because education – not material resources per se – is the key to attaining meaningful development in a country.
The development of a nation is directly related to the level of education of the citizens of that country.
Thus, if quality education is made accessible and affordable, citizens would have opportunity to acquire knowledge to empower themselves to serve the nation and humanity as a whole.
In this vein, we wish to say that the Ministry of Basic and Secondary Education is on the right track in shortening the distances to school for students, as stated in the national education policy.
The upgrading of Soma Upper and Senior Secondary School will serve feeder schools like Missira Basic Cycle, whose students, hitherto, had to travel 8km to the nearest senior secondary school in Mansakonko.
The upgraded Keneba Upper and Senior Secondary School, in Kiang West, would serve students from Keneba, Mandurr and the satellite villages.
Senior school students from these villages, initially, had to travel 17km to Kiang Karantaba or 22km to Nioro Jattaba for schooling.
With the upgrading of Darsilame Lower Basic School in Jarra East to basic cycle school would let students from Nyawurulung village now walk about 3km instead of 8km to Jarra Pakaliba.
In the case of Kiang Jiffarong Basic Cycle School, students from Kulikunda will walk for about 3km instead of 12km to Nioro Jattaba or 10km to Keneba.
So in essence the upgrading of these schools has really brought relief to the students and their parents and guardians as well.
However, the ministry should be cautious in the way they go about the upgrading, as we won’t want to upgrade any school to shorten the distance at the detriment of standards and quality.
It is not certain whether the ministry has any criteria in selecting which school to upgrade; if they don’t it is good to have such a guiding principle to follow.
Upgrading of schools should not be erratic; rather it should be well calculated.Any school that is to be upgraded, performance at that school should be monitored for at least three years.
The previous performance of students in grade 6 or 9 examination, as the case may be, should be looked at.
Another criterion that should be considered in the upgrading process should be whether the classrooms are enough and that facilities are intact for proper learning to take place.
Upgrading of schools is good, but it needs thoughtful planning.
“Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.”Nelson Mandela