International School of Walvis Bay Leadership

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This petition is addressed to the leadership of the International School of Walvis Bay. The aim is to bring light to the many issues that parents and pupils face. Some of the issues were reported to the Principal but remains unaddressed.

My specific issue with the school is favouritism and the potential damages to children and I want to share my experience with its impact on my child.

Where I thought all teachers understands child psychology, I was proven wrong at the ISWB.

For the past two years, I have received complaints about favoritism from my child who was a pupil there until today and some of her classmates, about teachers who seemingly have shown favoritism to certain children. A matter that affected her emotional well-being and self-confidence.  I am not talking about an isolated incident, there are concrete examples of regular favouritism. 

Some teachers made derogatory and hurtful remarks like: “I wish you could all be perfect like Mary” or “Only Mary put in an effort with this project”. These remarks might have been said innocently but is a clear indication of favouritism. 

Some of you might say that teachers are only human and like anyone, they naturally warm to certain children – well, if they make no attempt to hide those feelings they could be making things worse. Children typically believe what adults say to them and take labels to heart. They are in the process of constructing their identity. Children constantly ask themselves: ‘Am I clever or good enough? So when grown-ups label them, we give them the answers they are looking for. Pupils who feel side-lined may lose motivation and adopt an attitude of “why bother or why make an effort” if we already know what the outcome will be. It can also set up a vicious circle of antagonism, which can be difficult to break. This favouritism can also cause the “teacher’s pet” to be alienated and bullied by the other pupils. Teachers should focus on motivating pupils in a positive manner that will build their character and not focus on the flaws of their efforts. Research has shown that favouritism also have an impact on grades because “personal feelings” about a particular pupil influences teachers assessments.

So what do you if your child is a victim of favouritism? When I saw how it affected my child, and before I decided to remove her from the school I approached the matter with the assumption that the guilty teachers are just trying their best and possibly didn’t mean harm. Unfortunately, in my child’s case it caused her emotional distress and did more harm than good.

Many parents have been talking but few intervened when their children told them about the incidents, for they fear that their children will be victimised. Well if left unchecked, such negativity can have profound effect, often undetected unless you are clinical psychologist. Speak up, don’t allow your children to be victimized. It is OUR school. 

I often informed the school principal about the many issues parents reported to me (when I was a board member of the school) but I was often met with defensive answers, resistance to change and the famous “when we started the school 8 eight years ago”……

Some to the issues that were brought to my attention:
Founder members who are parents are interfering and influencing school management;
School calendars are changed / aligned to fit some influential family’s holiday plans;
Bullying is not addressed effectively and culprits gets away with it;
There is a lack of discipline and pupils are not taught about responsibility (scholar patrol is manned by general staff and teachers)
Family discounts are not given as promised;
The teaching methods are not effective
Introduce exams early on;
Be transparent (publish Cambridge results in media or school website)
Better communication and regular reporting
Implement Parent/Teacher Association

The exclusive agreement between the school and the supplier of school uniform, promotes monopoly and is anti-competitive. Uniforms are overprices, sometimes not available and parents don’t have the freedom to buy anywhere else. The school should invite bids and appoint more than one supplier to provide the parents with the freedom of choice.

The school lost many pupils and teachers, over the past few years, some teachers went to start their own schools. Many shared how they were treated as traitors when they decided to leave. Whether the school was right or wrong in the various cases, it caused reputational damage.

My final word to the team, you are offering one of the best if not the best educational curriculum in the world. But all the looming issues outweighs its benefits. A school success is measured by the quality of young adults they send out in the world, the culture of the school and its reputation. AND REMEMBER THERE IS NO SCHOOL WITHOUT PARENTS AND PUPILS!



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