Better learning experience: Physical appearance matters

BY: Lawrence Mantey
Better learning experience: Physical appearance matters
Better learning experience: Physical appearance matters

When it comes to quality education, the familiar areas that come to mind are teachers, books and supervision. 

We do not factor in the physical appearance of the schools and their premises.

No wonder that in efforts to provide quality education for children, this particular area has consistently escaped policymakers since independence.

The state of most basic schools in the capital cities lend credence to this fact.

Most facilities of government primary schools and Junior High Schools (JHS) in the capital city look like abandoned facilities. Most of the buildings look dirty and dusty, with broken doors and windows. Sometimes, teachers struggle to get comfortable space to mark exercises and write notes. Though some come with large compound, landscaping is virtually non-existence.

Some schoolchildren have to carry out recreational activities on dusty compounds, with no proper place for dining during break time. With washroom facilities, the least said the better.

Future in mind

It is the schools that produce the human resources that end up working within the formal sector of our economy.

The process begins right from the basic level of education, in this case, the primary and the JHS. Providing a pristine premises in these schools gives the children a fore glimpse of the destination their education is taking them.

Bathing in the morning, dressing up in school uniform and ending up in school that looks like an abandoned facility, unkempt and dusty most of the time, stifles creativity and learning.

If we imagine children within the educational system as people who have already been equipped with skills, concepts and competencies, driving the progress of society forward, it will go a long way to shape how even parents and guardians treat them at home, what attitude teachers display towards them in the classrooms, and what policies government officials formulate and eventually implement toward their education in the country.

Pristine premises

Most of the government basic schools found within the communities have big compounds, which can be developed into beautiful recreational facilities.

Trees, flowers and well-kept lawns on public school premises will stimulate creativity and learning in the children.

Beautiful school environment including regular painting of school structures, well-demarcated walking areas and welcoming corridors leading into clean and ventilated classrooms can also help children to develop the ability to differentiate between substance and schlock at an early age.

The children will be prone to repudiate dirty environment and avoid activities that litter and make their environment unclean.

Most of all, the maintenance culture that will be instilled in them as they contribute individually towards sustaining the beauty of their school premises will be a treasure for the nation when they eventually grow into adults.

Cost, priority

With numerous economic challenges confronting us at the moment, this suggestion may seem far-fetched. Definitely, public schools at the basic level spread throughout the communities within the capital city cannot be given a facelift overnight let alone extending such policy throughout the country. Such a project will come at a great cost. However, it is an idea worth considering if we have in mind the kind of human resource we want to produce through our formal education system.

As the saying goes, every thousand miles begins with a single step. We cannot have schools that take away from the beauty of the communities they are situated as is the case of most public basic schools in the cities.

Districts can take the initiative in this direction if the central government does not see it as a priority.

Even having beautiful basic schools in the communities will add to the effort of the President and the regional minister in their beautification of the capital city agenda.

Which other way can we enhance the learning experience of our schoolchildren at the basic level than creating a pristine, congenial and beautiful school environment. Giving a facelift to facilities housing primary schools and JHSs in the cities is long overdue. Can the capital take the lead as the model for the rest of the cities to follow?

The writer is with the Institute of Current Affairs and Diplomacy (ICAD), E-mail: Lawmat2014gmail.com