What makes a good school?

When you scour through history, you find some great men who determined the direction and pace of civilisation without receiving much of formal education — men such as Leonardo da Vinci, Nikola Tesla, Galileo Galilee, Abraham Lincoln, and many others.

But when you compare the number of such men with those who went far in formal school, you realise that the former group outweighs the former, both in number and in how much they have influenced civilisation. And when you observe the lives of the men who contributed to civilisation without receiving much of formal education, you can discern that they had a thing in common – self-education.

Through self-teaching, they engaged material that is taught in mainstream schools. So, it’s arguable that their self-teaching compensated for their lack of formal education.

Century after century, the trend has been that men and women who advance knowledge to make humanity better in different fields are those that acquire good formal education. The Leonardo da Vincis are just exceptions.

So, in this day and age, every parent strives to give their children formal education. Most parents want a “good” school for their children and so, they usually have some considerations before choosing a school.

But what is a good school?

A number of parents consider religion before deciding on which school to register their children in. If the parent is a Muslim or Catholic or an Anglican who wants their child to be nurtured into faith, they will first consider whether the school in question will inculcate religious values in their child or not.

Since the idea of having a good social circle or connections is such an important one, some parents seriously consider the social background of the students with whom their children will interact. Parents envision that good social networks can help their children access good jobs or opportunities in future.

When the Uganda National Examinations Board releases academic results of pupils and students at different levels, newspapers are so quick to profile the best students and schools in the country by academic grades. Newspapers do the profiling because information regarding students’ or schools’ performance is of high interest to both parents and learners.

It is common practice for parents to scour through newspapers looking for the best-performing schools and the information on schools’ grades usually guides them on which schools to register their children in. Schools with the most A-learners or first grades qualify to be good schools to most parents.

But a person like Juliana Kanyomozi might disagree with parents with such an inclination. In one of her media interviews, the artiste revealed that when joining Namasagali College, she never sat for any academic interviews.

Rather, she was presented at an audition held at National theatre where she demonstrated her singing abilities and it is on the basis of her singing talent that she was admitted into the then revered Namasagali College.

Kanyomozi discovered her singing potential while at the school and has subsequently reaped so much from her talent even without going far in pursuing formal education.

Notable figures such as Messi, Ronaldo, Rihanna and others in different disciplines have created an indelible mark without receiving much formal education.

It, therefore, seems that when a parent is choosing a “good” school for their son or daughter, it’s salient that the parent puts their children’s innate abilities into consideration. A school is only good if it aligns with your child’s innate abilities.

Isaac Newton proved to be a mathematical genius because his nature and mathematics were so compartible. But Messi didn’t need mastery of mathematics or balancing Chemistry equations for him to become great. Actually, it is highly probable that Messi or Ronaldo would be no-bodies if they were forced to pursue formal education as intently as some of us.

Unless you want your child to achieve average success – success that is reachable by most people – choose a school that leads your child to self-knowledge.

The author is a social commentator

Source: The Observer

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