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Extracted from the Times of Zambia
26 April 1997

The largest newspaper in the country reported in a lengthy article that this school has the best results in the country with 4 years of 100% passes. It states: "Sathya Sai has all it takes to be called a miracle school. Former truants, dunces and those considered ‘unteachable’ are shaped into disciplined and hard working people."

The Zambian President Chiluba toured the school in Ndola on 4 July and was very impressed. He said that the Government would now encourage more private investments in schools.

Astounding results

The Sathya Sai School, which had previously enabled grade nine dropouts to pass with flying colours, has now produced the same astounding results at Grade 12 level. Of the 20 candidates who sat the exams last year all passed, not one pupil failed.

The Sathya Sai School was opened in January 1992 and had its first intake of pupils whose Grade Seven examination results were below the cut-off point and could therefore not gain places in other secondary schools.

Principal Mrs Genevieve Kanu reports that the school operates within the statutory framework of the Ministry of Education. "It prepares students for the well conceived and proven Zambian General Certificate of Education," Mrs Kanu explains.

The staff is a blend of professional and experienced local and overseas teachers who are either university graduates or diploma or certificate holders.

In matters of discipline, the school would be rated as second to none. Talk of vandalism; you will just be wasting your time because you will not find a single broken window. What is surprising at this school is that the pupils are drawn from five high-density neighbouring townships and from twelve different schools. But if one went to the schools these children attended before coming here, one would be shocked to see broken windows, graffiti in toilets and desks wildly scratched.

Teaching by example

Mrs Kanu says no tuition fees are charged. Only affordable auxiliary payments are made towards running costs and there is an open admission policy enabling boys to seek admission irrespective of income, class, creed or religion. She adds that Sathya Sai attaches value orientation to primary and secondary school education.

"Human values are integrated into the teaching of every academic subject and co-curricular activity," Mrs Kanu said.

The teachers are highly motivated and even teach during holidays. The school has equipment for football, volleyball, basketball, table tennis, badminton, darts and chess.

In Zambia, it is amazing to find Grade Three pupils speaking French. But French, English and Bemba are taught from Grade One in addition to ordinary subjects, Mrs Kanu revealed. The teachers here also teach by example and none of them has been reported late for classes. "In fact teachers arrive at the school before pupils come," she says.

All religions important

She said the pupils are encouraged to develop a positive attitude about themselves, and not to think that they are dropouts or inferior.

"We also tell them to respect all religions, respect themselves and their parents as well as the traditions of their country," Mrs Kanu adds.

"We teach pupils about all religions though we have a strong inclination towards Christianity bearing in mind that Zambia is a Christian nation." That is also why pupils are taught about the Indian prophet Sathya Sai Baba who recognises all religions as important.

The school offers pupils boarding facilities two months before examinations. The reason is that most pupils come from homes where there is no electricity. "We give them food during the period and supervise their studies so that they understand what they learn."

The education programme is based on the principles of Sathya Sai Baba of India emphasising Love, Peace, Truth, Right Conduct and Non-Violence. Mrs Kanu explains that pupils are taught that the end of education is character and not a certificate. "The four D's: discipline, duty, dedication and devotion are encouraged and developed."

No one is a failure

Chairman of the school board Dr Victor Kanu has this to say: "The purpose of the school is to join hands with the people of Zambia in building this nation through education which is the bank from which the nation draws. If the bank is poor and has no assets, the nation is poor. The boys and girls in townships are as good as anybody," Mr Kanu insists.

After seeing the stunning results the school produced for boys, parents in the area asked the couple to extend education to girls. The Kanus have responded by now opening a girls' school. Education for the girls is completely free.

To ensure there are high standards of teaching the school prefers university graduates to teach both in the primary and secondary schools. Dr Kanu said the couple ensured teachers worked hard to enable pupils to pass.

The Ministry of Education is pleased with the stunning results and the Kanus have been invited to numerous teachers' workshops to talk about the methodology they use in achieving such marvellous results. The two educationalists believe no sane person is a failure in life. "With a proper approach anyone can succeed in academics. No one is a failure."