A frantic search for good Aâ€™ level schools is on. This is a trying time for parents and guardians hustling to get the best school to place their children.
Following the release of Oâ€™level exam results on Tuesday, many schools are running adverts for vacancies.
While the message in the adverts is appealing, education experts warn that behind these adverts there is more than meets the eye.
Aydin Hakki, the head teacher of Turkish Academy, advises parents to visit more than one school, compare facilities and take the child to the best choice.
Moses Otyek, the former director Education Standards Agency, says good sanitation is fundamental when choosing a school. The school should have clean toilets and running water.
â€œFind out about the location of the school. Schools near the road are not safe, while those located in trading centres have a lot of obstruction,â€ says Francis Atima, the acting principal inspector of secondary education standards.
Atima encourages visiting the dormitories if it is a boarding school to check assess the conditions.
â€œEstablish whether the school has security guards and matrons to ensure that the children are safe,â€ he said.
Atika also advises parents to find out the academic performance record of the school.
Otyek on the other hand encourages parents or guardians to establish the kind of teachers the school employees.
He cautions parents not to ignore the aspect of the school fees structure as well. â€œChoose a school which you can afford to pay fees to avoid the inconvenience of the child being sent home due to school fees defaulting,â€ he said.
Daniel Mbazira, a sports master at Ssaku SSS, Wobulenzi says parents should choose a school that nurtures a child not just academically, but also morally, socially and spiritually.
Associate professor Sue Dockett of the University of Western Sydney in Australia says the relationship between teachers, schools and parents has an impact on childrenâ€™s attitudes and interest in learning. Therefore, choose a school that has a parents teacher association (PTA).
Aggrey Kibenge, the Ministry spokesperson, says its vital to choose a registered school.
â€œBy the time the process gets to the Ministry of education, the necessary clearance from the local authorities at the district level will have been done.
â€œWithin one year, the school owner is supposed to put in place all the missing requirements and report back to the ministry for an operational license,â€ he says.
Role of Education Standards Agency
Without an inspection report from the Education Standards Agency (ESA), a school cannot acquire a license to operate. ESA looks out for minimum requirements, among them;
Infrastructure: the school must have a minimum number of classrooms depending on the level of the school. The school buildings should meet building specifications of the Works Ministry.
A school must have a qualified head teacher registered with the Ministry of Education. The head teacher must also have a minimum experience of 5 years in teaching.
Primary schools should have a minimum of 7 teachers, secondary a minimum of 12 teachers. All the teachers must be trained and registered with the Ministry of Education.
l In secondary schools the recommended minimum is 40 students per class and 20 for nursery schools per class.
How to choose a good Aâ€™level school