TRANSITION TO FORM 1

TSC new guidelines will end long history of bullying in school

Transition from day to boarding school comes with risks of bullying, mistreatment

In Summary

• Teachers' appraisal tool reminds tutors that learners' safety primarily lies in their hands. 

• Stakeholders recommend formation of a students' council through which students and teachers can communicate. 

A Form 1 student arrives at his new school on reporting day, January 7.
CHILD-FRIENDLY: A Form 1 student arrives at his new school on reporting day, January 7.
Image: ENOS TECHE

The question of how safe the children are in boarding secondary schools is currently the main bone of contention to a substantial number of parents sending their children to Form 1. 

In fact, the transition from primary day school to a boarding secondary school has always been associated with all forms of mistreatment ranging from bullying to sexual abuse. 

Notably, parents who schooled in the last four to five decades are the most hesitant in sending their children to boarding secondary schools due to the unsavoury experience of bullying they were subjected to during their academic years. 

The TSC, in collaboration with the Education ministry and other relevant stakeholders, has devised a feasible strategy to mitigate the vice and make the learning environment a child-friendly zone. 

First, the introduction of Teachers' Performance and Appraisal Tool (TPAD)  has been beneficial to both the teacher and the learner. The tool calls for every individual teacher to rate themselves and be rated on how active they have been in ensuring the learner's safety. 

The clause has always served as a reminder that learners' safety primarily lies in the hands of the teachers. Second, teachers have willingly turned into foster parents to the learners. Students are attached to different teachers as their parents. 

Their role is to monitor closely both the academic and behavioural progress of the learners. 

The two parties establish a good rapport in that any form of bullying or challenge is first reported to this 'parent' for intervention. The strategy has significantly worked well in reducing assault in schools.

Third, a powered students' council. Through democracy, schools establish a students' body that acts as a link between the students and teachers. They are well acquainted with every individual student's character thus placing them in a better position to detect any subtle behaviour change and communicate to the administration for the appropriate punitive measures.

Fourth, the presence of suggestion boxes in the schools. It is indisputable that any crucial information that the students cannot openly talk about is communicated to the administration through these discreet structures.

For instance, cases of sexual assault or bullying are easily leaked out to the administration through the suggestion boxes.

Further, the presence of guidance and counselling departments in the schools will assist students to successfully triumph over difficult situations. Those grappling with family challenges, addiction to drugs and substances and academic challenges are guided to make rational decisions in life.

Finally, boarding secondary schools have dorm patrons/ matrons who maintain close contact with students in their respective dormitories. They often hold briefings to correct any form of skewed moral principles and inculcate the expected moral values.

The school's core purpose is to churn out prolific and well-moulded individuals. With the above measures in place, parents are assured of their children's safety in boarding secondary schools.

 

Teacher, Machakos