CELEBRATING an anniversary is no small achievement. For Fatima Girls’ Secondary School, the Diamond Jubilee is a huge achievement which must be celebrated by a cross- section of people within and outside the country.
In this vein the school has extended its invitation to all its former students.
Providing education to where it is needed the most is only the beginning of development. Coping with financial, infrastructure and technical implications of excellent and quality education is another. Educating the girls and boys effectively involves more skills, effort and dedication as can be seen from Fatima Girls Secondary School.
To be recognised as a good school, any progressive school has to demonstrate its commitment to and success at the criteria of life-long education. This can be done at any level of schooling. Second to this, is the school’s activities and education must be sustainable, to continue to provide this contribution into the future. This is what has formed the success story of Fatima Girls’ Secondary School.
Fatima Girls Secondary School is celebrating a Diamond Jubilee; 60 years of its existence. The school has since its establishment in 1952, provided education to a cross- section of youths in Zambia with utmost integrity, ensuring quality education for all its pupils and high level of professionalism and ethical conduct among its members of staff.
The school, which has been run by the Dominican Sisters of the Catholic Church, has had the tradition of balancing formal education with informal education. The school aims at empowering the pupils with holistic development in order to promote social and economic welfare of society. Fatima Girls Secondary through the Sisters and Teachers has always believed in offering excellent education. This is a testimony among all the pupils that it channels into tertiary education and society.
While the education benefits of Fatima are obvious, the school struggles to be self-reliant. The school is a granted-aided institution which only gets 25 percent of its budget, from government, to run the school.
The school could not have chosen a better jubilee motto, “Count your Blessings, Look back with Gratitude, Embrace the future with Confidence” at a time when it is in dire need of support.
It is without doubt that the revenue realised from the school fees is inadequate to cover the running cost of the school. For it to survive, the school relies on donations from well wishers channelled through the Dominican Sisters.
One can safely say then that the nuns have done their fair share of developing the school and the time has come for Zambians through parents, former pupils and well-wishers alike to come on board and develop the school. The school is in need of rehabilitating its infrastructure and has embarked on building houses for teachers.
Although the challenges the institution faces are not unique to Fatima, the school is special in its own way. Its pupils have evolved over the years with the initial in-take having come from the mixed race community, later spreading to all Zambian girls and to the present status of opening its doors to the local boys drawn mainly from the nearby rural community.
The rural community often lacks access to education; vital to their lives and livelihoods. Fatima Girls’ Secondary School, through its inclusive programme has opened its doors to allow the pupils from the local community access quality education, thereby providing support and participatory development.
This they have done in order to allow the disadvantaged youth to spend their time wisely. The disadvantaged youths from Kang’onga area can now access high education from Fatima Girls’ Secondary School without having to walk 20 kilometres to the nearest high school.
As the school celebrates its 60 years in existence, it is cardinal to appreciate the contributions made to society through the quality holistic education it provides, the social responsibility to the community it operates in and the lifelong education it provides. It is a symbol of hope to many.
The provision of high moral standards is another critical area of education which the school strives to facilitate throughout the pupils’ stay at the school.
Technology continues to play an ever-increasing role in the education sector. As the use of the internet and its resources spread, the school has a computer lab accessible to the pupils.
Although the girls are able to use these computers, as can be demonstrated by their skills in the school year book which they produce, the school is still in need of newer and more computers to allow for up-to-date development of information communication technological skills.
Knowledge creation and acquisition can only be nurtured as a process, if the pupils have access to computers which will enhance their research skills.
Given that the school system is a platform as well as a channel for formal education, cultural integration and social exchange, a school run by the church provides better chances for the pupils to receive and impart knowledge cardinal to their development. The school through its various activities improves literacy, education and research skills in the pupils.
Emphasis and importance of quality education cannot be repeated in an era where everybody is talking about quality education and the demand for high grades at tertiary education level is ever increasing.
Schools like Fatima Girls’ Secondary must be given the support they deserve from all stakeholders so as to ensure that not only the pupils with high performing capacity are admitted but that the community for which this is the only source of hope for a good quality education can exercise their fundamental right; the right to education.
The challenges faced by the school in providing education are numerous and require commitment from government, private sector, civil society, former pupils, parents and all other interested key actors.
The Diamond Jubilee main celebration which takes place on September 22, 2012 is an appropriate forum that should be used to ensure that the following interventions are made known to those that will be in attendance and help is solicited to help fulfil the interventions. The following need to be undertaken:
– Renovating the infrastructure of the school,
– Equipping the sick bay, the computer lab, library, kitchen; and
– Helping the vulnerable deserving pupils at the school to pay their fees.
This will only be done if the government improves its grant to Fatima Girls’ Secondary and other aided schools run by the church. Donations from well-wishers too will help, because the school cannot be managed effectively on the money raised from the school fees.
As Fatima celebrates its 60 years of Quality Dominican Education the school administration is thankful to God for his faithfulness and for the people that contributed in small and big ways.
To join in the celebration of the Jubilee Blessings, visit the web site www.fatimadom.edu.zm