During the course of any given week I come into contact with people that want to contribute to improving the lives of our future generation of adults. Most have the noblest of intentions but invariably, you left with a sense of unease at the approaches made or the conversation content from many. Not all these approaches are in a face-to-face setting; some come via fax, post, email, sms and even social media. Often these communiques are accompanied by extensive motivations and glossy engagement frameworks. It is not unusual to find that many of these approaches are also accompanied by references from well known personalities. And I do wonder if these endorsers actually know how widespread their cursory one or two-liners travel during the course of a given year.
When you delve into the backgrounds of these “ do-gooders”, many are found wanting – they great with intention but poor on impact. Sadly, they appear more interested in securing the next round of seed funding than contributing to the welfare of the schools they're trying to help; the pictures and meeting portfolios are paramount to them; the effects of the interventions they offer are by-products of the cause. And they make it so difficult to delineate the genuine value-add structures from the self-promotors.
It begs me to ask,
Do we need all these community-based structures offering all sorts of ancillary services in our schools?
Do they offer inputs that we are unable to provide and why is it we can't manage this in-house or via State Services?
What do we do about the plethora of organizations circling our schools offering solutions to our ongoing failures to qualitatively lift the academic outcomes of learners?
Are these organizations servicing a gap in our schools’ operational makeup or that of State Support services?
Do we recognize they have something to offer or are we simply unwilling to deal with issues and so surrender these to outside organizations to deal with?
And in all of this, are schools not being overwhelmed by all this activity in the guise of help?
I know there are organizations doing sterling work alongside our school management teams in many institutions. The people attached to these structures are passionate and work tirelessly to facilitate organizational change in schools. They in it for the long haul and are committed to build sustainable behaviour. Yet, a significant number out there are bedeviling efficiencies in schools in the name of help.
Let me ask another question, is this dynamic of outside help flourishing around our schools not just indicative of poor planning and execution of our own programmes?
What do you think? Do leave a comment an add to the conversation.