Improving student welfare & educational standards

Teachers were delighted and completely engaged with the content of the second day of the 3rd Humanist Schools Conference, whose broad theme is: ” Quality Education based on Reason, Compassion and Self-reliance”. The second day was devoted to achieving high standards of student welfare and of education.

The welfare issue that this conference chose to focus upon was the maintenance of good interpersonal behaviour and school discipline. We invited the Ugandan NGO Raising Voices to organise a workshop to present the Good Schools Toolkit. The kit explores strategies for identifying signs of physical, sexual and verbal abuse of and by both children and staff. The trainer, Mariam Nankiyingi, from a Muslim heritage, was an excellent story teller and motivator. Our audience clung on to Mariam’s every word as she recounted examples of abuse that can occur within schools, including why some seemingly mild chastisements might become abuse when used thoughtlessly and repeated often. The teachers were delighted to receive ideas of a variety of alternative strategies for achieving positive discipline, i.e. the sort of discipline that comes from within rather than by the exercise of force.

There were a series of other parallel workshops given by primary and secondary experts, who were either examiners for `Uganda National Examination Board or belonged to a subject panel of the National Curriculum Development Centre. The primary workshops covered improving performance of students in literacy, numeracy and social studies. The secondary ones focused upon English, Mathematics, Science and Geography.

The conference is going well and there is much to look forward to on the final day.