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Principal To Use Awards To Motivate Community

The principal of Thomas Baker Secondary School hopes to use the two Minister’s Excellence Awards to change the mindsets of people in his community by advocating the importance of education.
16 Mar 2017 11:02
Principal To Use Awards To Motivate Community
Thomas Baker Secondary School principal Kaliova Maya with the two awards for his school’s 100 per cent pass rate for Year 13 and 100 per cent pass rate in Year 12. He received his awards during the Education Minister’s Excellence Awards at the 119th Fiji Principals’ Association Conference in Suva yesterday. Photo: Ronald Kumar

The principal of Thomas Baker Secondary School hopes to use the two Minister’s Excellence Awards to change the mindsets of people in his community by advocating the importance of education.

School principal, Kaliova Mava, received the two awards for his school scoring a 100 per cent pass rate in the Fiji Year 13 Certificate Examination and the Fiji Year 12 Certificate Examination.

He received the awards during the Fiji Principals’ Association Workshop at Studio 6 in Suva yesterday.

“It takes time to convince parents that because to them, generally speaking, education is not a priority. This is the reality. They do not look at it as something very important.

“They are nice and welcoming people, but when it comes to education, it is not important. We cannot blame them because it takes time too,” said Mr Mava.

He said the awards were the result of the hard work of the school, its students and teachers.

“Most of the parents bring their children to other schools in the urban areas and that is why we have a small number of students back in the village.

“But what they should realise is that what they can achieve in big schools, they can also achieve in our school too.

“Hopefully this awards can motivate them and change their mindset,” he said.

Mr Mava said the school’s achievement was not through his work, but through the work of the team of teachers, parents and students.

“Last year, when I joined the school as the principal, the academic performance of the school was very low.

“So that was a big challenge for me and the team,” he said.

Mr Mava is pleading on behalf of the school for donors to assist in providing resources.

Thomas Baker Secondary School is located in Navatusila, the highlands of Navosa province.

There they do not have 24 hours access to electricity, nor does the school have a computer or science lab.

“We only have a small library, classrooms and enough teachers to teach the students,” he said.

He said the lack of resources in the school was because of its location thus making it difficult for the students to access proper and updated information.

However, despite the lack of resources, he said the motivating factor was the school’s commitment to challenge itself to perform academically well.

“We had to motivate the students and teachers. We also added extra classes for them from Monday to  Friday.

“But the main thing was to motivate them. I had to drive my teachers there and sometimes I had to step on people’s feet or disappoint some people,” he said.

He said this year, there are 69 students from Years 9 to 13 with 16 teachers.

“In the end, we achieved a great reward, but we will have to continue to work hard this year to maintain that level of excellence. It is not easy to maintain or reach this level but we will do our best.”

Last year, there were 12 students in Year 12, but he said the numbers had increased this year.

“Some of them stay in the hostel while others stay in villages nearby.

“One of the blessings that we have is that the school is not exposed to factors that students in  urban areas are exposed to.

“So they go from home to school and back. To us, it is a plus if students are isolated there.”

He said there are enough text books for the students, but resources like electricity makes it difficult for them to keep up with the standards of urban schools.

“We are reuqesting assistance from donors to donate computers, a science lab and equipment, sports equipment, library books, internet and electricity access.”

He said the school only uses a generator that would only be switched on for two to three hours a day.

The school looks after students from five villages from two districts in Navosa.

“It takes two to three hours to travel from Nadi Town to get to the school. So we would have to leave at 3am or 4am and reach school at 7am to 8am.

Edited by Jonathan Bryce

Feedback:  monica.aguilar@fijisun.com.fj

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