Streamline school selection process
What you need to know:
- The issue: School selection process
- Our view: Two things need to happen. One is the sensitization of parents out of the mindset that if their children do not end up in a particular secondary school, then it is doom and gloom. This excessive competition for the few sought-after schools is a nightmare for school heads.
The selections for Senior One start today but as they start, there is so much bargaining and haggling in the background. Desperate parents who suspect their children may not make the cut are in a rush trying to secure Senior One placement by hook or crook.
There is so much activity to the extent that the Ministry of Education and Sports, through its spokesperson, Dr Dennis Mugimba, issued guidelines on reserving slots and quotas in what is fast turning out to be a big marketplace with high stakes trading and bargaining going on for student admission.
Two things need to happen. One is the sensitization of parents out of the mindset that if their children do not end up in a particular secondary school, then it is doom and gloom. This excessive competition for the few sought-after schools is a nightmare for school heads who, no doubt, suffer sleepless nights and phones ringing off the hook every time examination results are released.
School administrations end up compromising and admitting numbers beyond the capacity for which many of these schools were designed. Many people and institutions bring pressure to bear on schools with the so-called quotas or requirements to reserve slots for special categories of parents and their children.
This appears to be the beginning of the ministry action. It has taken a positive step in speaking out and attempting to regulate the selection exercise but more action is needed, starting from reducing influence peddling from government officials or entities who lobby for placement. The other option is to formalise what is now referred to as compassionate admission. If we cannot do away with quotas, maybe we need to make it more transparent to avoid backdoor dealings in secondary school admissions.
As it is, the process is fast turning into a fiasco where, increasingly, only the fit can survive in the race to join the most coveted schools. Perhaps only those with enough money to oil the right palms will get into the sought after schools.
The other takeaway from this is that we can purposely make the rest of our schools better so that the cutthroat competition to get into the few will reduce somewhat.
Let us strive to attain minimum standards in most schools across the country so that we do not stretch the few functional institutions and their administration