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Uganda: Students' academic success shines brightly at Maharishi Secondary School for Girls
by Global Good News staff writer
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21 April 2014
Maharishi Secondary School for Girls in Uganda has achieved a status beyond its years. Even though the school is only five years old, for four of those years its students have been invited to participate in the annual International Women's Day celebrations in Mbale. One of the 'side benefits' of the trip, an administrator commented after this year's event, is that the girls' substantial talents in singing and dancing are on display and warmly appreciated by the large audiences, and they always receive a standing ovation.
A report to the United Nations on the achievements of the school highlights the benefits naturally found in Consciousness-Based Education schools, in which all the students and teachers practise Transcendental Meditation. Teachers repeatedly remark on how focused and harmonious the students are, and how tolerant they are of each other. Students report the same. One student said, 'I am HIV positive and since I started meditation I have seen my health improving, and my friends have started supporting me, because they are also meditators.'
Although examples of improved behaviour are common in Consciousness-Based Education schools around the world, it is felt to be a remarkable phenomenon in Uganda because Maharishi Secondary School for Girls is the first in that country to adopt the programme.
Students who enrol in the school are not necessarily at the top level of academic achievement when they begin; the school accepts all students who pass primary school. Yet by the time they graduate 'they have become very bright', a teacher said. Even average students succeed in exams at Maharishi Secondary School. With four years of national examination results, it is noteworthy that no student who has spent more than a year at the school has failed the exams. It is even more remarkable because it is rare in Uganda for a student who leaves primary school with an average score to pass the national exams four years later. But this is happening consistently at Maharishi Secondary School for Girls, said Dr Graham de Freitas, a director for the Institute for Excellence in Africa—'a beautiful feather in the cap of the school' which is becoming more and more widely known.
In general the national exams required for all students are considered very important in Uganda, and are a source of anxiety for students and their families. However the girls at Maharishi Secondary School for Girls are remarkably relaxed about the exams. They perform well and have said that after practising Transcendental Meditation before the exam, they felt so happy—'like we are on holiday'.
The 'Senior 5' class of girls recently took their S-4 examinations (four-year exams), and all did very well. One girl received a 'Division 1' grade, considered outstanding in Uganda. The percentage of students who passed the S-4 examination has put the Maharishi School in an elite position in the country for this past year.
Of the 5,000 secondary schools in Uganda, Maharishi Secondary School for Girls came in at number 460—putting it in the top ten per cent—and after just five years. Dr de Freitas also emphasized that the school does not select students for being outstanding; they become outstanding as a result of Consciousness-Based Education.
This year there are 110 girls in the school, the majority Ugandan. One feature of the well-rounded educational programme at Consciousness-Based Education schools is students' daily practice of Transcendental Meditation, which has been shown through scientific research to reduce stress and increase intelligence and academic achievement. During the school day the students meditate together in a group. Sixty-five students have also learned the advanced Transcendental Meditation Sidhi Programme. Many scientific studies have also found that, in addition to individual benefits, group practice especially of this advanced technology of consciousness produces a measurable increase in coherence and harmony in the environment.
School administrators hope that the growing reputation for academic excellence at Maharishi Secondary School for Girls will draw many more students to enrol, increasing the positive effects for their community and the whole nation.
Copyright © 2014 Global Good News Service
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