Wednesday, March 01, 2006

Got my GP tutorial working on writing up proposals for the use of the 'Opportunity Funds' being allocated to all schools from this year's annual Budget. The idea is to boost the finances of neighbourhood schools so that they don't lose out so much against the better-off self-funded institutions in terms of providing enrichment programmes for the students.

Some schools are considering using the money to subsidize out-of-country field trips and IT expenses for kids from families which can't afford such luxuries (some call them necessities) outright. Other schools want to expand their library collections, and introduce programmes that offer training in non-academic lifeskills. You get the idea.

I wondered what students themselves might come up with if they had a say in the application of these funds, hence the proposal-writing exercise. While there were a couple of groups in which the membership just coudn't decide amongst themselves what they should propose to buy, there were a couple if interesting ideas that surfaced.

Use the funds as seed money for each class to use as capital to set up and operate a small business, perhaps for a finite period of time and in competition with one another. The other suggestion was to equip and train a group of students in the fine art of clowning. I thought these ideas were excellent! So much potential for independent, self-motivated learning in many aspects of life.

Schools are making their own decisions as to how to use the bonus income. Some schools want to consult parents as to how to spend the money. But since the money is meant to be used for their sake, shouldn't the students have a say too?

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