The 2021 BGSE results clearly show that the sun is rising at Kgari Sechele Senior Secondary School and possibilities for a new dawn seem real.
In the last couple of years, the school was synonymous with underachievement, having consistently experienced a string of poor academic achievements.
However, in a pleasant surprise, the school achieved a giant leap from position 29 to 20. While this big jump may have come as a surprise package to many people, but those of us close and privy to what is going in the school knew in advance that the atmosphere was pregnant with change.
The arrival and deployment of a Harvard trained school turn around champion, Baaitse Mosa Kebobone is proving to be the best thing that ever happened to the school. As this column has always insisted, student outcomes are orchestrated from the office of the school principal and Kebobone is clearly showing the watching world that leaders can make a seemingly impossible mission possible.
A background check on the leader in question can help shed light on why a positive movement was expected when principal Kebobone took the reigns of power at Kgari Sechele. Principal Kebobone, formerly known as Beleme, is a product of a robust and teaching culture of Selebi-Phikwe, having worked under the tutelage of the late Edwin Keatimilwe at Makhubu Junior Secondary School. To the uninitiated, principal Keatimilwe was one of the finest school principals this country had ever produced. Professionally Kebobone grew up in a high performing culture as evidenced by Makhubu’s rare and consistent high academic achievement levels.
Having graduated from Makhubu, Kebobone got an opportunity to stand on her feet as a fully-fledged principal of then struggling Sefhophe Junior Secondary School in 2011. In one single year, she achieved a dramatic rise from 22% to 54%. Sefhophe became the best school in the Bobirwa district. Her subsequent illustrious and note worthy record while at Nanogang JSS is well documented.
It suffices to say that under her tutelage, Nanogang ruled the roost for an uninterrupted period of five years. For me personally, an opportunity to know and work closely with Kebobone presented itself in 2018. That was when the then Basic Education PS, Dr Bathusi Monkge assigned me to take charge of school leadership training programme. The task at hand was to identify leaders for a leadership development programme at the prestigious Harvard School of Graduate Studies. With her pedigree, there was no hesitation in selecting Kebobone to join the other nine school principals selected for the programme.
Upon graduating from the HSGSE course, principal Kebobone became an anchor in the HQ based turn around programme intended to share Harvard experiences and develop a pipeline of turnaround school leaders in the country.
Arguably principal Kebobone is the Rolls Royce among her generation of school leaders and there is no doubt in my mind that Kgari Sechele is in the right hands. And again the writing is on the wall that the question of academic achievement in schools cannot be adequately addressed unless some serious attention is paid to the question of school leadership.