Wednesday, June 11, 2014

New Principal Brings Hope

Samtse Higher Secondary School has been without a principal for over a month. Not having a principal in the school was like a voyaging ship without a captain. We felt as though an important element was missing in the school. The entire fraternity of the school have been expecting for the new principal to arrive and take over the school as soon as possible. Fortunately today, to the joy and delight of everybody in the school, the new principal arrived and assumed office.

His first address to the students and teachers of the school today gave us renewed hopes. He said 'I am a strong believer of change!'. And definitely change is what the school needs. Samtse HSS over the past few years has not been able to see glory in any of its endeavors. It has not been able to take a progressive course in it's undertakings. The school's motto 'Striving For Excellence' remained a far-fetched dream. The outcomes of most of it's endeavors have not been as expected. It has not been one mostly sought after schools for students.

Picture: BCSEA, Pupil Perfromance Report
From among the host of issues faced by the school I will bring out two that's prominent and need to be addressed. Firstly, students' poor academic performance. The Pupil Performance Report, 2013 of Bhutan Council School Examination and Assessment (BCSEA) reported that out of 200 students in class 12 in the school, only 4 qualified for undergraduate studies and 27 for various RUB colleges. And out of 148 class ten students only 81 (43.55%) qualified for higher secondary education (Pupil Performance Report, 2013, BCSEA) owing to which the school has been has labeled as one of the low performing schools and ranked in the bottom ten. Although there has not been any formal complaint from anybody about the declining academic performance in the school, every Tom, Dick and Harry in the locality talks about it. Besides, a few years back an anonymous post on kuenselonline forum criticized the school for being a place of 'academic drought'. The school has some of the finest teachers, giving their best effort yet it has not been able to see light at the other end of the tunnel. There seem to be a problem somewhere. By and large, it indicates that the state of student academic performance of the school is really in a bad shape.

Secondly, students' discipline and conduct. Discipline is essential for education. There has not been effective education without discipline. Today teachers in the school perceive the prevalence of arrogant behavior, use of obscene language, eccentric dressing style and substance abuse among students in the school. And it is getting pervasive by the day. As far as substance abuse is concerned, it has been attributed to close proximity of the school to the border town of Chamurchi where chemical substances (drugs and other forms) and tobacco products are easily available. These issues have been seen as militating factors against students' academic growth.

Hence, this situation calls for serious reform in the school. We cannot afford to have these trends persisting. We got to address them sooner. And we are hoping that the new principal will see to it and bring about positive changes with his initiatives. Fortunately, in his first address to the students and teachers, he stated that he wants to take the school to the top ten in the rankings. That gave us a sea of hope. Those words truly made us happy. We hope that the new principal will bring in some fresh perspectives and place innovative and viable ideas and take the school to a new height. Of course leadership alone cannot bring about the changes and the onus also lies equally on other stakeholders, leadership is still the most important and the foremost factor in taking the lead role so that others can follow suit.


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