Reward for good work

PUBLISHED : Monday, 17 June, 1996, 12:00am
UPDATED : Monday, 17 June, 1996, 12:00am

The Education Commission's proposal to pay cash bonuses to schools that do their job well is an idea that deserves serious consideration.

Teachers may not like it. But linking additional funding to the standard of education a school provides would not only provide a strong incentive for them to improve their teaching, but also a useful index as to the quality of schools throughout the territory.

However there are obstacles to be overcome before any such proposal can be implemented. Using a simple league table of examination results would be grossly unfair on those schools whose intake comprises children of lower academic ability.

Only by adjusting to take account of the differing academic standards upon entry could any fair comparison be made. Nor should this be the sole criteria. A school's overall performance can only be properly assessed by also taking into account extracurricular activities and ethics, even though these are extremely difficult to measure.

Care must also be taken to ensure that no school is unduly penalised by any such system. While there is much merit in the idea of paying bonuses to schools which perform well, this can only be done if enough additional resources are available. On no account should any school be made to suffer a cut in its basic level of funding in order to pay bonuses to others. Any action that is taken against schools which perform badly must not be allowed to jeopardise the interests of the pupils.