Monday, 29 July 2013

In Defense of Armitage High School

By Demba Baldeh (Suntou), great write up but clearly a miss opportunity to do a broader research on Armitage and its culture. It appears that you spoke to some ex students and picked a negative narration of the institution and make it look like "a breeding ground for Alcoholism and prostitution" aka girls dressing badly.

There are certainly thousands of Ex Armitage students on this forum who will vehemently disagree with your assertions. I am not interested in defending Armitage as my Alma-mata, but simply setting the records straight or broadening the discussion. First, the section of students you referenced who frequents or make the "Mansuwan Kunda" a habitual place represent a very small section of the student population. In fact if your sources were open to you, they would have told you that these are mostly students who struggle in their academics and many of them end up failing and repeating their classes, some expelled, some transfer to freer schools. This is the same group that runs away from regular five day prayers, night studies and against rules of staying on campus. This group does not reflect the larger student body who are overwhelmingly pious and hardworking...

Second, if you research Armitage and the institutional set up, you would have realized that there were strict rules separating boys quarters with girls' dormitories. In fact some spent five years in Armitage without ever visiting the girls quarters which was locked 24/7... So were the girls restricted in visiting boys quarters. Of course as a co-eduational institution students were allowed to have musical nights were girls and boys mixed. But to characterize girls in Armitage as flouting or dressing sexual is to not know about Armitage and probably never visited the school...

Clearly, you missed a great opportunity to touch on the strict religious schedules and teachings at Armitage where students are woken up at 5am to pray dawn every single day 7 days a week. The five daily prayers were stricter than that of Mecca if you ask me. This includes both boys and girls. Girls are locked during prayers... (almost like Sariah law).. This is something that even parents cannot maintain for their kids. By the way students who were Christians were also forced to go to Church on Sundays... You should have seen Friday prayer time when the whole school will assemble and march to the Juma prayers without deviation. 

Finally, the discipline the Armitage institution teaches its students is a classic example that our regular transitional families teaches their children at home. Almost 95% of Armitage students greatly benefits from this routines and are greatly appreciative of being part of a culture that treats every student equally. At Armitage during my days of course, it doesn't matter what your family background was. We all ate the same food, wear the same clothes and of course bitten by the same mosquitoes..

In short, I think in terms of religious training, academic rigor, social norm of respect for seniors and the elderly, restriction on gender commingling, and routine schedules, Armitage is a classic example. In fact students who spent five years at Armitage will forever appreciate being part of an institution that never discriminates and teaches basic fundamentals of social upbringing...

I hope you will have another chance to do more research on Armitage and the idea of these institutions being breeding grounds for secularism. 

Keep up the good work..

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