Livinus Tal Bam
An enlarged annual meeting of the Parent Teacher Association of St Augustine College Nso, held recently at the college campus, during which parents came from all over the country to sit and deliberate with the school administration and draw up better strategies for a conducive teaching and learning atmosphere.
After a con-celebrated Mass presided over by the Rector of the St. Aloysius Minor Seminary, Fr. Isidore Lafon, the meeting kicked off in a tense atmosphere. The tension, mostly on the part of parents, was palpable and had fully bloomed after a succession of stories transmitted from parents to students and from the children back to the parents over the past six months that culminated in a disastrous strike action in campus at the beginning of the academic year. This resulted in several dismissals and many suspension and hard manual labour cases, which many of the parents did not find easy to accept, rather preferring to lay all the blame on the new principal, Rev. Fr. Peter A. Foleng, SD.
Some of the parents took it upon themselves to question the change of principal, and were determined to exert all their influence to ensure that he is removed. The question now is: Did Fr. Foleng apply a different set of school rules and regulations on the students? After an elaborate and self-explanatory address from Fr Foleng, the tension could be clearly felt going down. There followed various interventions after the principal’s address and the speech presented by the outgoing PTA chairman – Mr. Ndzelen Tobias Kenyuy. The parties finally arrived at a consensus and the parents again accepted to collaborate with the school administration for a better upbringing of the children. The bone of contention ensued from the issue of extra food in the dormitory and the revised rules and regulations, which were under study. It became clear that the parents did not read a letter attached to the draft rules and regulations. The principal insisted that these set of rules, culled from the ones that were in force, simply had sanctions attached to each. Many parents thought that the sanctions aspect might scare the children. After a long debate on these issues, the new PTA executive was commissioned to sit with the school administration to draw up final draft of rules and regulations. This will let the students concentrate on their studies without worrying about what will befall them.
Despite the appeal from the Proprietor of the School, His Lordship Bishop George Nkuo, for parents to assist the construction of a new dormitory to replace the existing one, the PTA insisted and resolved to continue with their existing plan to build a toilet for St. Joseph and Agnes boys’ dormitories. This will be done at a proposed site where the proprietor of the school will designate. Evaluating the results of students in the past two years, it was noted with discontent that at the G.C.E 2006 examination, the school dropped quite perceptibly both at the Ordinary and Advanced levels. As a solution, it was resolved that admissions into examination classes should be thoroughly screened, especially for students coming from other schools. Other social ills noted to be reigning in the college included child abuse, where the junior students were constantly intimidated and sometimes physically molested by senior students. Sexual immorality among students, indiscriminate breaking of bounds and stealing were also among the most common of student felonies. The principal called on parents to join the school administration in fighting these ills.
There is a school of thought that the issue of food and hard rules were magnified by the students to gain the sympathy of parents, who would then not look too keenly into their misdemeanours. The meeting ended with the election of a new executive, with Mr. Mainimo Thomas becoming the new president, Mrs Ngala Mary Vice president and Mr. Jaff Patrick Financial Secretary.
March 01, 2007