Letter of the day: Why students choose traditional high schools
THE EDITOR, Sir:
A news item inside The Sunday Gleaner of November 22, was captioned "Rush on brand name schools - GSAT students continue to shun non-traditional options".
Having attended a traditional high school as a student, I thought that during my 28 years of service at a 'secondary high' school could have helped to transform the institution - with the help of like-minded individuals - into an institution closer to what a traditional high school offers ..., and this I believe was necessary as traditional high school graduates tend to be more marketable - even the deportment of the two groups of students tend to differ.
Unfortunately, this was not to be and there are several reasons for this. The fact that prospective students try to avoid these schools indicates that there may be certain characteristics that traditional high schools possess that are not enjoyed by their upgraded counterparts generally, including;
1. That the co-curriculum of traditional schools tends to be used as a means to a more organised end. There are many brilliant students who have attended the upgraded high schools who leave with all the required subjects but that is all they have; they can't hold a reasoned conversation, they are very backward in the area of the pastoral traits or how to be protocol sensitive, and neither do they see the importance of sports as a valuable tool for forward movement.
2. That even at the level of administration, there are two different principals associations, one for each type of secondary school, so that there is no real opportunity at that level to share ideas, etc.
No efforts to change status quo
These institutions cannot be the only ones to be blamed for the disparities, however, as both groups of schools tend to continue along the cultural path on which they started out with very little or no effort made to adjust the status quo - in the case of the upgraded schools.
Notice though, that whenever there is a falling-away of the standards at the traditional schools, the PTA, the alumni, the board and sometimes even the wider society chimes in to effect corrective measures.
As a society, we would prefer that the play field is much more level than it is at present. This is probably where government can assist by taking another comparative look at the compositions of boards and administrations of upgraded schools.