Showing posts with label Bumayong Lutheran Secondary School. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Bumayong Lutheran Secondary School. Show all posts

SUMMARY | Lae School Fights - Principals Are Best Placed To Stop Students Fights

School's Culture Vs Students' Culture

Students’ violence is big problem in Lae city schools. Article (I) highlighted the need for quick solution to this problem. Prevalent negative students’ culture affects lives of young men and women. It has to be neatralised by creating a good school culture.

Included in the article was a video report of Morobe PEB chairman's remarks about disinterest in the fight to stop students’ violence.

What Can Be Done At School Level and Within Provincial Education Circles

Second article gave detail to roles of local education officials from the principals to provincial governor. How they can use their powers to solve school fights. Morobe has decentralised education system. PEB has responsibility to intervene in school’s affairs. I pointed out that Governor can use his powers to influence principals and school boards to improve school’s performance.

Fighting Bad Habits Vs Fighting Bad Students

Five misunderstood areas relating to students' behaviour and schools' discipline were identified in article (iii). Effectiveness in school fights rests on identifying students and their bad behaviours. Targeting behaviours instead of students and have proper methods in place to correct them is the best way forward. Suspension should be the last resort in any disciplinary action.

Principals Face Dismissal If Schools’ Performance Does Not Improve


Final article emphasised the importance of principals taking stronger control of schools. Principals ‘know-how’ on establishing positive school culture can change bad behaviours.

School have to be place where students are not only educated, they must be moulded to be better citizens.

Lae School Fights (iv): Principals Face Dismissal If Schools’ Performance Does Not Improve

The UK government plans to create a body called regional school commissioners who will have powers to siege control from school identified as ‘failing’ by school inspection body Ofsted. The Independent  newspaper opening headlines read ‘ Government-appointed officials to remove governors and head teachers in failing schools….’ (18/10/2014). Under their control they will send 1500 ‘super teachers’ into struggling classrooms in an effort to boost students’ performance and improve schools’ ranking.

The whole idea was to challenge school governors, principals and deputy principals to pull-their-socks-up.


Lae city schools have senior education officers who have been sitting at the principal’s seats with years of experience. Some even feel as if they are irreplaceable. It is time Morobe Provincial Government comes up with a plan to challenge principals and deputy principals of troubled schools within the city.

This is not only about fighting against schools fights. It is also about improving schools’ academic performance - about improving ranking of Lae city schools.

So, if school governors and admins need motivation it must come from Morobe Provincial Government. The Government must take ownership of the schools in the province and step on the administration toes – show them who is in charge here.

Running a city school is not an easy task. This is clear from the onset, no one can deny it. But, governors and head teachers should be the force that drives a positive change, instead of being complacent. Why occupy a position in the admin when schools academic results are failing? Why doing the same thing over again when it didn’t work the first time?

 In fact, school governance must be based on systematic and workable guidelines - the school policies. Most schools do have all the policies that Education Department wants of them. These policies are cut and paste from national department’s documents with limited or no effect at school level. By this I mean, every school should look at ways to refine their policies to meet their needs.

What must school administrators do to improve school performance?

Drop in the number of Lae secondary school students going to tertiary institutions in successive years showed that there was urgent need to seriously reconsider the way things are done. Take a look at these as examples. Call it Guides For Principals Of All Schools In Lae City.

1.      Selecting Students – Begin With a Good School Culture

I pointed out in my first article one of the ways students join generation groups is determined by the part of city they come from. Targeting feeder schools can be an effective way to create good school atmosphere and stop students fights on the streets.

If negative students’ culture begins at primary school, school admin should re-think the traditional selection process. Instead of accepting students from the mainline schools, they should take students from outside the city.

Take for instance, city secondary schools should offer privileged places for students from remote schools like Menyamya, Wasu, Salamaua, Dregahafen, etc. All the boarding spaces should be awarded to these students with certain conditions attached. If it means expanding boarding space to 70% boarding and 30% day, it must be spearheaded by the Government to see a change.

Day students must also have conditions attested to their spaces. For example, parents must be from the working class or earning a certain amount of money in wage or salary, students must be living with a parent/s, students must be dropped off and picked up etc.

These are hints and examples for controlling enrolment and ensuring quality of students are maintained during selection of students.

(*Principals, you cannot stop students when they are fighting and killing each other at Eriku but you can stop it from happening)


2.      School Behaviour Policy – the code of conduct

This policy governs students’ ethos in classroom and around school. It is the code of conduct. They must be taught the requirements of being a student in a city school on day one: uniform, appearance, conduct, respect for teachers, respect for fellow students, respect for the public, etc.

The reason why a policy on code of conduct is important is that it neutralises bad behaviour students may have inherited from outside. When students come into a school they MUST pick up the school’s way of doing things, practice it and perfect it before they leave. This is how school influence students and prepare them to face the World.

One way to effectively implement such policy is to actually police it. That means that principals should know how to monitor students; they should know how to stop bad behaviour repeating; they should also know how to stop bad behaviour from spreading.

If it means doing random blood test on students to check for presence of illegal substance, by all means, school must do it. If it means suspending 25 students for the sake of 100, principals must take this bold step.

Perhaps the most important thing is to monitor, curtail and contain bad behaviour within schools.

(*Principals, you can create a way to neutralise bad students’ behaviour by putting in place a clear code where every student can follow from day one).


3.      School Disciplinary Policy – The Penalty

Disciplinary policy edges on the action school administration (including BoG) takes when a student has bridged School Behaviour Policy. This outlines what penalty one would have faced.

I clearly outline the step in taking disciplinary action in my third article and mentioned termination should always be considered as the last resort. Every opportunity has to be given to correct bad behaviours before this final action is taken.

In regards to Lae schools, a clear message has to go out to parents. They have to be made to sign a declaration to protect their child/ren. This means that parents have to agree with school’s code of conduct (School Behaviour Policy). By doing this parents agree to let school monitor and correct any behaviour contrary to schools' best practice.

END: Board of Governors and school administrators in Lae city schools MUST think about how to improve their school’s performance. Start fighting bad student behaviours. Create workable school policies to encourage good behaviour. This is a big challenge for all the principals and deputy principals in Lae city schools.

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I will give a summary of articles (i) - (iv) in my final post. 


Lae School Fights III: Fighting Bad Habits Vs Fighting Bad Students

This is part III of Fight Against School Fights series. 

The article is about identifying and dealing with students’ bad behaviour in schools. Many school administrators do fear students’ reprisal when dealing with students. 


Fear lingers mainly because admins and school boards tend to fight students instead of their behaviours. Students' way of doing things against guided principles - negative students culture -  when not monitored and corrected can lead to other chronic bad behaviours. The key word is chronic as such is contagious and spreads among students. 

But, how does a one-off bad act becomes chronic? I will discuss how to correct one bad act and contain it before it established tentacles among students. 


Below are five ambiguous areas where school administrators can exploit to contain bad students’ habits effectively.

Adapted: EMTV 

I am going to use the words act, habit and character. To make readers understand them, I am putting them into context below.


Plant a thought, reap an act

Plant the act, reap a habit

Plant the habit, reap a character

The character determines a destination




1.      Discipline Vs Behaviour

Discipline is about moulding students’ behaviour. It is not the end, it is always the beginning of a process. Every student who enters a classroom whether they are from the street, village, middle class or upper class has to be seen equal by teachers and school admin.

Educators often identify students’ abilities by academic capabilities (bright and not-so-bright), leadership roles and behaviour. What is important here is the fact that regardless of the student, school has a responsibility to develop every student to live a happy and fulfilling life – many call it the integral development.

Schools are there as institutions for moulding and shaping minds and hearts of young people,  hence systemic discipline is a vital element.

2.      Home Discipline Vs School Discipline

Many have a preconceived idea that discipline starts at home. A line must be drawn between discipline at home and at school. Discipline always starts at home. This is true for those who have decent family upbringing where parents are there to drill into their children good habits.

Starting to learn about the world at home is always effective (for sure) and that is where discipline starts by default. But, this can be a ‘dead argument’ for students who do not have a place call home. What about student living with 'wantoks, or students from broken and violent homes? And what about students who have good homes, but are influenced by peers on the streets?

As long as students are in the school, school takes responsibility on all matters pertaining to shaping good habits. School as learning institution must instil good attitude in young men and women. School has the ultimate duty to ensure this happens.

Classroom is WHERE a parentless child sits with the privileged. School is where a violent dad does not exist for the day. School and classroom are neutral grounds where character-shaping can take place unobstructed.


3.      Protecting Students

Welfare of every student and teacher within school precinct take precedence. More often many school administrators concentrate on fixing fault instead of proactively building barrier to prevent it.

By this I mean school admin and BoG often overlook a few ‘rotten apples’ in school. That does not means those students are rotten. It is their way of acting contrary to school’s norm and ethos that is rotten.

In order to protect the integrity of school and majority of students who are good, those behaviours have to be clearly IDENTIFIED, MARKED and DEALT with.

4.      Targeting Behaviour Vs Targeting students

I mentioned the difference briefly above. Most school administrators and BoG often target students instead of their behaviour. This is where the problem is!

Bad habits, actions and behaviours are always common year on year in every school. This can be an effective way to discover students because you never tell from students names. Having an idea about bad habits, bad actions and bad behaviours can help to solve students’ behavioural issues forehand.

The point here is to fight the actions and behaviours that are bad, instead of fighting with students. If it means revising school disciplinary policy, by all means, do it!

5.      Discipline Within Classroom Vs Discipline Within School

This is a major challenge for Lae city schools. This is where classroom/subject teachers, class patrons, deputy principals and principals are pivotal in application of discipline.

In behaviour management, there has to be clear communication all throughout the process. Communication with student and parents is the key; starting with verbal warning, referral to deputy principal, punishment, warning letter to parents, facing BoG, etc. Expulsion/termination should ever be considered as the last resort.

Discipline is always the start, not the end. Applying discipline is about reinforcing good habits, getting students into a good school culture and ensuring prudent behaviour exits the first time, every time.

END: Following a clearly outlined disciplinary process is the best way to control and contain bad habit before it takes stronghold in students.

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In my next post I will undertake to concentrate on principals and deputy principals as the pillars of discipline and what they should do to foster good school culture ....

Fight Against School Fights In Lae (i): School's Culture Vs Students' Culture

STOP: school fights in Lae city schools


UPDATED 17th December 2018

This is first of five write-up about school fights among Lae city schools. I am going to look at what was wrong, how groups are formed, impacts on students' lives, what Morobe education officials and politicians can do, what can be done and what if what can be done is not done.

School, as an organisation, functions within a culture: school facilitates a way to do things and participants (students and teachers) adhere to it. This then creates vibrant learning atmosphere within which stems adjacent nomenclatures like students' ethos and staff's code of practice.

So he who is at the helm of any learning institution must come up with the ultimate solution. (This is a topic for my other post so keep in check)

It is important to ensure the ethos and codes remain healthy and functional. Apparently, there is more to be desired from schools in Lae - the lae city schools.

To begin with, every stakeholder involving and receiving this vital government service (Education) must first asks ‘What went wrong?!’. This question supersedes when, why, who or how. Only if this can can effectively analysed, then stakeholders and concerned citizens can use it as pointer to fight against school fights. 

So what happened, then? 

A culture (note: I call a culture and not cult) was created by students (students' culture) and it existed parallel to that of the affected schools (established schools' culture). Education psychology dictates that a culture can be negative or positive whether it is schools' or students'. In Lae city schools an unpopular and detrimental students' culture has existed right under the noses to school administrators and local education authorities which seem to have continued unobstructed over the years.

For whatever reason, students' way of doing things in and around schools went undetected (or ignored!). It flourished in schools like Bugandi Secondary School, Bumayong Lutheran Secondary School, Lae Secondary School and Busu Seconday School.

This culture has tentacles in primary schools, too. It has gone from bad to worse - uncontrollable!

Today the culture created by students evidently has prominence because it had an influence on negative behaviours about school. More-so, 'generational' structure into which every student is a subject makes it difficult for him/her to take an independent stand against it. Almost unavoidable!

How are students identified?

What happened among schools in Lae is contrary to good student culture. Students are distinctly identified on two obscure but effective conditions: where and why.

WHERE: This takes precedence. Students from same area mostly attend the same primary school. They know their seniors and their seniors know theirs. They, by default, easily identify themselves with whom they know, hence generation groups takes stronghold.

WHY: Being part of a group is survival instinct many animals display. Due to peer effect within school - to actually survive and thrive in a city school - students have to identify themselves with their peers.

What is bad is the fact that students are absorbed into these groups where the atmosphere is completely opposite to norms of every school. Instead, it promotes rebellion and disobedience. A grave concern when not only practising good character and personality at young ages are vital, but also good academic achievement.

A student by default joins a group or align themselves with one. Other reasons like smoke buddies, alcohol mates, class mates, etc are supplementary as they fall under 'where' and 'why'.

Lae city schools have a situation where negative students' culture exists parallel to schools' culture. It has got to a point when the Lae school administrators, school boards, Morobe Provincial Education board, Provincial Educations Adviser, Morobe Provincial Administrator, Morobe Governor and other Morobe Education officials must not let bad students' culture takes over schools' culture.

Four Impacts Within the Education System

The impacts of negative student's culture on students' lives are many both now or later and whether they are in the village or workplace. Those stated below are impacts on educational strand - what is happening within educational circles.

Rebellion: Students are influenced to develop negative ethos by doing something against school's prescribed norm. Such students' behaviour are to prove that they can do something against school's principles and get away! Call it the test of 'daring'. For example, deliberately disobeying teachers or causing injury to other students or taking drugs. This can lead to other serious incidences like having sex, taking alcohol, skelim boros, involve fights and killings, etc.

High Drop Out: There is likely to be a high rate of students failing their examinations. This is a concern for parents; it is also a concern for those running the school; and a concern for those at the helm of the Education System in Morobe.

Education Gap: The is a lap - a generational gap - where Morobe would have had a population of half educated individuals roaming the streets and villages.

Substandard Secondary Schools: Standard of a school is linked to students' performance. It has been a disgrace for Lae schools as far as students performances is concerned. It is shameful to class a school as 'low standard'. Substandard schools would be appropriate for schools in Lae City.

It is now time to think differently. 

So, what has been done to address this problem? Here is what the Morobe Provincial Education Chairman had to say.


In my next post I’ll explain the roles and responsibilities of School administrators, school board, Morobe Provincial Education board, Provincial Educations Adviser, Provincial Administrator, Morobe Governor; what they must do their school levels.