In its formative years in the late 70s, Francistown Senior Secondary (FSS) was regarded as one of the top schools in the north, priding itself on producing some of the best brains in the region.
The school’s success was all the more impressive considering its catchment area was primarily low income and crime infested locations such as Aerodrome, Area W, Kgaphamadi and Monarch.
Sadly, in the last decade, FSS has been a school on the decline, often making the news for all the wrong reasons.
The good times might just be back again, however, following the release of the 2022 BGCSE results in which the school ranked fifth out of 34 Senior Secondary schools.
For the first time in eight years, FSS made it to the top five in Botswana, boasting three of the country’s 14 top achievers. As an added cherry on the top, they also claimed the second city’s bragging rights, performing better than their fancied sister school, Materspei College, who could only muster position seven.
This is a significant leap for a school that was ranked 16 in 2020.
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“Historically, Francistown and north east region has always been dominated by Materspei. I think for about 20 years now, this is the first time we’ve managed to score higher than our sister school,” disclosed School Head, Fanyana Ntaise.
“I’m not saying this in bad faith. Competition between the schools is healthy. We’ve to compete and push ourselves to get good results,” added the esteemed educator.
The headmaster, who’s been at FSS for three years, said while in the past parents seem to shun the school, preferring better performing institutions, their top five score has turned the tide.
“Now other schools are coming here to benchmark, parents are spoilt for choice as all of a sudden FSS is now a good option,” he declared, attributing the recent revival to management and staffs’ tireless efforts to arrest students’ indiscipline.
“This is what triggered the turn-around, and we are now giving advice to other schools on how we did it,” Ntaise revealed proudly.
His sentiments were shared by Principal Education Officer (Inspectorate), Malebogo Macheng at the school’s victory party on Tuesday evening.
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Macheng commended teachers for a sterling job despite the challenges they encountered, including Covid-19.
“It is important to celebrate success as teachers. Usually when results are good, students get credit and when they are bad teachers get the blame,” she said.
“FSS used to be a performing school, I’m glad they’ve reclaimed their glory days,” concluded Macheng.
Francistown Mayor, Godisang Radisigo also patted the school management on the back for looking beyond academic qualification.
“Much of life’s successes are governed by attitude rather than innate intelligence, and that a strong work ethic will take you far in life,” the Mayor noted.
Radisigo gave an example of the school’s Debate Team, which finished second in the National Library Competition for Tertiary and Secondary Schools hosted by BIUST.
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“The school also sent five student Prefects for a Youth Leadership Summit organised by Botswana Centre for Integrity at UB which equipped learners with leadership skills,” he said.
Radisigo added his council intends to fully engage with all the schools in Francistown, as they also want to take ownership of the results.
“The exercise has already begun with primary schools, and will continue with secondary schools in the next term,” he said.