Tuesday, January 26, 2016
In the last post Anna and I alluded to our conversation with the Acts 2 Collective team and some of the changes we are going to be putting in place in order to improve the school. On Friday at our seminar we got to share some of these changes with our teachers and today we got to share some of them with our parents at the PTA (Parent Teacher Association) Meeting.
One of the biggest challenges we have faced at school is getting school to start on time. There are a couple of reasons why this is the case. Today while we were waiting for the meeting to start Wisdom told us we were on “African time.” This means that the parents were told the meeting started 8:00 am when in reality we started it at 10:30 am and we still had parents strolling in late. So on a typical school day our teachers and students alike are usually late. This timing is something Anna and I have grown very accustomed to and have embraced, as it is simply a part of the culture. However, when it comes to school starting sometimes over an hour late it is unacceptable. This means our students aren’t learning and whole subjects are being skipped. Therefore, the Acts 2 Collective team came up with an incentive for parents to get their kids to school on time. Starting on February 1st any child who is on time everyday for the rest of the year will have health insurance provided for their whole family by Acts 2 Collective. This announcement was met with a warm round of applause from all of the parents.
Additionally, we had the privilege of informing parents that any student who was able to pass the BECE (Basic Education Certificate Examination) would have the opportunity to have half of their secondary school fees covered by Acts 2 Collective. In Ghana the students have to pass this test in order to attend high school. However in Asikuma it is rare that students are able to pass the exam and it is even more uncommon for families to be able to afford to send them away for them to continue their education. We are hoping that by knowing there is financial support parents will be more involved in their child’s education and ensure that they are attending school everyday as opposed to keeping them home to help around the house, with the business or on the farm.
The final policy that we shared with parents was created in conjunction with the concern that students come and go from the classroom as they please. We want our students to be taking their education seriously and that means when they are at school they are in their classroom learning. To address this problem Anna and I designed and constructed gates for the crèche and KG1 classrooms to deter students from walking out of the classroom. Additionally, any student who leaves the classroom unexcused more than three times in a term will be no longer allowed to return to the school.
After we were done sharing our policies, we had the opportunity to observe some more of the meeting. Although the meeting was conducted in the local language and our part was translated, it was exciting to see some parent involvement in the school. Parents were asking questions about things like school supplies, the bus being on time and school fees. We are looking forward to implementing these new policies on Monday, February 1st and anxious to see how they will impact our students.
Keep following along as we continue on this journey. Stay tuned for a fundraiser we will be doing to meet some final needs before we wrap up. As always email us at firstname.lastname@example.org or let us know if you have any questions or ideas!