Consistency is vitally important. International universities of repute such as the Harvard Law School and Massachusetts Institute of Technology have successfully preserved their reputation.
This is because these institutions do everything in their powers to jealously guard their standards and cultural heritage.
Sadly the same cannot be said of our public secondary schools. Let's take for example, Moeng College built in 1949 under the inspiration of Bangwato’s visionary regent, Tshekedi Khama.
For a very a long period, the college proved to be one of Botswana's home brewed success stories. For parents across the length and breadth of Botswana, securing learning opportunities for their children at MOCOL was indeed a great honour. But now, the college has fallen from grace and its founder must be turning in his grave. Today there is a vast ocean separating Moeng College of yesteryears and Moeng College of the now. The once prestigious college that branded itself as an island of academic excellence has become a shadow of its former self.
Valuable lessons should be from the tragedy that befell Moeng College to save the present generation of high achieving from going Moeng's unfortunate route. As a matter of urgency, efforts should be made towards sustenance of the high performing culture prevalent in St Joseph’s College, Mater Spei College, Masunga Senior Secondary School, Nanogang Junior Secondary School, Orapa Junior Secondary School, Meepong Junior Secondary School and its sister schools in Selebi-Phikwe. The robust and rigorous teaching culture and top notch system of school governance should be allowed to evaporate and die a natural death.
Staff retention is one of the many ways of sustaining a winning school culture. A mass exodus of staff from a successful school often has the unintended consequences of destruction of productive and teaching culture. Where possible, staff reorganisation should be carried out with extreme caution to avoid upsetting a working pattern of culture. One is not suggesting one bit that successful teachers should be turned into victims of their own success by being kept and 'detained' in a school for a prolonged period of time against their will. That would be inhuman. But those willing to stay and help sustain the reputation of a school should be permitted to hang on for a good purpose.
No performing teacher if willing to stay should be forced to leave on account of 'overstaying'.
Schools are built around leaders. It takes one to three years to successfully mount a school turnaround programme. But it can take one academic year to dismantle it. Movement of school leaders from one school to another should be exercised with extreme caution. Where possible, successful principals, if so willing, should stay put in their schools. Moving successful school leaders around in the name of reviving chronological low achieving schools is not entirely helpful. Often their departure is followed by destruction of the culture they had toiled to build in their former schools. Instead of frequently moving bodies around, it is wiser to try and replicate what successful principals are doing in their schools. The right thing to do is to keep successful schools as benchmarks and to exploit the expertise and wealth of experience of their leaders to build capacity elsewhere.