By Burnett Munthali
Mission schools are always in the lead. When you look at the top ten best performing schools in the just released Malawi School Certificate of Education (MSCE) examination results you will find mission schools dominating the list except for only one or two schools that are private owned. You will not find any government school anywhere near the top ten on the list.
This has always been the trend for Catholic mission schools in Malawi from Primary School Leaving Certificate, Junior Certificate and MSCE. It is quite interesting to see how the mission schools take the lead in education at all levels including university selection for all these years. There is something that keeps mission schools at the top while examinations are prepared by a government body Malawi National Examinations Board (MANEB).
There are probably different reasons Catholic mission schools keep leading:
First, teachers salaries must be reasonably good to motivate them. When teachers receive good salaries, they have sufficient time to relax during their free time instead of jumping up and down looking for credits from money lenders just to make ends meet.
Second, teachers housing are good, spacious and always within the school campus. As a result of this, they walk short distance to their classrooms within reach and save a lot of energy from walking long distances. Teachers’ energy is fully utilized in class never to be divided by walking or cycling tasks.
Third, students discipline is very high in Catholic mission schools without any compromise. Discipline goes together with students academic performance in many cases. You will notice that those students whose discipline is poor normally produce poor results. The Catholic mission schools are very strict with discipline and are second to none.
Fourth, teachers lesson delivery is always full throttle aimed at completing the academic syllabus, imparting knowledge and skills. There is no excuse for not delivering lessons to the highest standard in these schools. Absenteeism, late coming and laziness cannot be spotted. Its all about managing their time very well and the undisciplined students are shown the exit door.
Finally, teachers commitment is evident beyond any reasonable doubt. Teachers in Catholic mission schools have a passion to teach and bring the best out of the students. The students are always first, everything else comes second.