Poor BGCSE results: We are barking at the wrong tree

21st February 2018


By Sun Reporter - Reporter

The debate on the 2017 BGCSE results has taken the same pattern as has been the case over the years. The quality of the results themselves has not changed either – if anything, overall performance has continued to decline drastically. Analysts and pseudo-analysts blame the poor quality of results on shortage of books at schools, student-teacher ratio, or general shortage of human and infrastructural resources. Rarely do we ever hear of any analysis that gives insight into the nucleus of the learning process. There is perhaps a serious need to start talking about the issues of behaviour with respect to the three important stakeholders in the education web itself – the parent, the student and the teacher. Do students exert enough effort in their own education?

Do teachers have full commitment towards their role of imparting knowledge and facilitating learning? Are the parents themselves bothered about what happens with their children when both at home and at school. There has in the past been a temptation to want to blame teachers for the consistency in these poor results. There is talk of teachers who are lazy and do not even give feedback to learners for the entire period of their studies. There are those who just do not care about the profession and just go to school for the heck of it while waiting for another pay day.

Such cases do exist and are unfortunate, but at the end of it all, it is the student and their parent that have to take more responsibility for their education. The teacher should be there to facilitate, to guide and to aid learning. Besides, teachers are also monitored and constantly assessed on their delivery. Unfortunately the trends in the modern school are those of unruly students who themselves seem to lack self-motivation and who do not seem to know why they are in school in the first place. History has shown that the performance results of a motivated and committed student are not always dependent on the conduct of their teacher or the school they attend. In the recent past, Kagiso Senior Secondary School produced the best student in the country when the school was itself the last in the perking order.

Currently Moeding College is the 20th in line but have a student with 10 stars. Such students bear testimony to the fact that with the right motivation and support from parents, the status of a school or the character of a teacher counts for nothing. In the end, the behaviour of students and their attitudes towards learning count for more than just the issue of the system or resources. An effort is therefore needed from the child, and there is no better place to cultivate such attitudes than at home.

The parents should be the frontline of everything; they set the right tone and give their child a proper atmosphere to perform. When the child returns from school, they seek to know what it is the child learnt and they set out to assist in the learning at every opportunity. Unfortunately not many parents care – which is why we have had cases of students who would skip school for weeks and the parent would not be aware – because they do not get involved. Parental involvement as well as self-motivation and personal responsibility on the part of the students are sadly lacking in our schools today, leading many students towards not turning in assignments and blowing off tests. Learning involves give and take from both the teacher and student, and as it is, the focus cannot always be on blaming the teacher and not acknowledging the other issues present. Such issues could be motivation, study habits, academic preparedness, external factors, attitudes and relevance among others.

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