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School without bells and staffroom

Chrispine Oluoch, the Principal Aimeel Preparatory School with some excited pupils from the institution. Photo by Lucy Wangai/KNA

Running a school without a bell can be very challenging but when coupled with the absence of a staff room that becomes complicated, but a school in Ruiru in Kiambu County has proved that this can be applied and everything ran without the two components, basically associated with a normal school.

Aimeel Preparatory school has unique characteristics that don’t apply to other institutions. The school operates a system where teachers operate from the classrooms where they mingle freely with their students allowing a one on one interaction with their pupils.

According to the Principal, Chriphine Oluoch, the school administration settled for the unique method of running their operations since its inception five years ago, where they decided to inculcate a culture of time and alertness in their students by ignoring the use of bells to send alert messages.

“We started with four pupils in different classes and we realized the ringing of bells used to confuse them and interfere with their operations. So we opted to allow all of them to wear watches and time teachers and themselves at whatever time, and the tradition evolved into a culture and we never introduced bells even when the population of the school grew,” he explained.

“The management of the school also opted to introduce class managers who sit at the back of the classroom where they monitor the operations of the day. With the manager who is a senior teacher seated at the back of the class, teachers are able to prepare their lessons well and are compelled to give proper attention to all the pupils,” he said

He explained that staff rooms are sometimes converted into gossip camps where every topic from politics to tribalism is discussed, adding that a lot of time is wasted by teachers in the staff rooms.

When KNA visited the school recently young children were freely interacting with their teachers and whenever time for one lesson lapsed, the pupils admirably folded their books and smoothly transited to the next lesson

“We cannot ring a bell here since the programs for pre-unit, lower and upper primary are quite different. Any child who enrolls in the school is inducted into the system and are able to acclimatize” revealed Oluoch.

He claimed that bells were meant for churches where the loud sound is supposed to alert distant worshipers of time to worship, arguing that in this digital era, they are disruptive and causes many children to panic especially when they are doing exam.

Kezia Njeri is one of the class managers who we found operating from a desk at the back of the classroom, saying  she had difficulties when she first entered the school but later loved the system. “It is one way of shifting from analogue to digital. Other schools should adopt the system and see the difference,” she added.

Njeri said the system kept her awake as she always set an alarm in her phone to alert her when her lesson ends. She also said most children had watches and every time a new teacher had difficulties, they were alerted by the pupils that time time was over.

Teachers at the school proposed that the Ministry of Education should borrow a leaf from their system that they noted put both teachers and their pupils on high alert as far as time management was concerned. The adage that time is money is well displayed in this very unique school.

By  Lucy  Wangai

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