14 September 2012

The Principal of Lumbini College stands tall

There are tons of things wrong in this world. Lots wrong in our country. Many things wrong in our education system.  We have incompetence and corruption.  Slackers and short-cut takers.  But then again, who among us can say ‘I learnt nothing in school’, ‘school was a waste’?  Did we learn nothing?  Can we think of all our teachers, from pre-school through the A/Ls and the university and say, ‘none of those ladies and gentlemen had any impact’?  I think not.

There are teachers who weren’t the best, but we learn not just from the exceptional but the pedestrian as well.  The exceptional, however, are the ones who give us wisdom and values, who give us freedom as well as the mind to use discretion.  They discipline so we learn to be disciplined and so we are not punished for doing things we could very well avoid. 
We all know people like that.  And we hear of them too.  And each time we remember or hear about a teacher, we feel that there is hope for the world and that somehow we needn’t worry too much about our children not being able to cope with the horrors of this world.

This morning I heard of a parent-teacher meeting.  Lumbini College, Colombo 5.  The Principal had summoned all the teachers of all the students in the O/L class.  He named, I am told, three boys.  Two of them had come with their parents.  They had long hair.  Too long.  They got haircuts right there.  In front of all the parents. 
He then talked about attendance.  All students are required to maintain 80% attendance.  There are some, he said, who don’t come on Mondays (because they are attending private tuition classes) and don’t come on Thursdays and Fridays either, again for the same reason.  So they can never complete their notes.  Does tuition compensate?  Here’s what he said or at least the gist:

‘Tuition classes are not like school classrooms.  There are hundreds of students.   Of these students, a good number will get A’s, B’s and C’s.  The rest fail.  The tuition teachers and classes will put up huge signs about how many passed, how many got A’s and brag about their student getting the highest mark in this or that subject.  They will not talk about those who fail, the number that fail, and the percentage that fails.’
He then told the audience that 6 students who had not fulfilled the attendance requirement will be asked to come to school with their parents.  They will be duly sacked, he said. 

Harsh? Too harsh?  I don’t know.  All I know is that this principal is a leader.  He is a teacher.  He is a disciplinarian.  What he teaches will be a constant source of strength to every single student in that school. 
If children and parents don’t take school seriously, then they should take them out.  No school has a full complement of really good teachers.  Lumbini cannot be an exception.  I am sure, however, that with a principal like this, there has to be enough teachers who will make sure that the children pass and pass well.  Either way, a principal worthy of that title must stand tall. The Principal of Lumbini College has. 

Thank you Sir!






PNG said...

It is indeed so refreshing to hear of a principal like this.
I am sure we do have many more like this.

Pamii said...

Great article!!

Here in Australia, to combat this private tuition issue and also to recognise the fact that some of us are not good at regurgitating text books on the exam day, 50% of the final mark is composed of work completed, including attendance at school for the final 2 years.

If there is such a system in SL as well, perhaps parents will think twice about depending entirely on tuition at the expense of every other type of learning that occurs at school - after all, learning to be a good citizen is not just knowing your subject matter :)

DJ said...

I truly raise my hat to the Principal of Lumbini College. I hope more Principals in Sri Lanka will follow suite.