We have a failed education system. The recently concluded national exams are a true reflection of how Kenyans have perfected the art of stealing.

It has been devolved from the National government to county government to universities, high schools and now primary schools. The men and women (teachers and security personnel) entitled with the mandate of protecting the students’ welfare are the ones perpetrating the vice.

This is a scenario of parents defiling their own children. For several weeks the media have brought out the scenario of the national exams into picture. The massive leakage of National exams is a worrisome issue that needs addressing first and fast. They give the consigner equivocal assurances of secure delivery, but have failed to deliver. The consignment of national exam papers that was thought to be impregnable has failed to deliver the expectation. It has now turned into a cash cow. With everyone around wanting to milk it dry.

Who is to blame for this mess?

Is it the poorly paid security officers who during this period receive too many offers, that can’t compare to their meagre income?  In the Kenya we live in, integrity will never prevail where poverty has pitched camps. They too like other Kenyans have families and are faced up with the harsh economic times. This has also been replicated in another scenario that the current government has vehemently denied. Saying it is a scheme by NGOs to build themselves a name to their donors.

Is it the teachers (supervisors included)? After having a very dry month with no pay (no work too), what would be sweeter than the offers? Money is the root of all problems, validity unquestionable. The remuneration policy being based on the number of A’s on can deliver in an academic year, what stops a teacher to go the “extra” mile for a fat package. The ‘feel good’ feeling for teachers is also a contributing factor. Who would not want to see his students succeed? Even if you are not part of the scheme would you want students exams cancelled?  The spirit of protecting our own whether in good or bad situation is called friendship, they say. Teachers will therefore protect their students.

Is it the students then?

Having not been in school for a month plus, in the most critical month of the Academic journey passing the National exam is critical. Comparing them with those in the private institutions, an extensive added advantage is evident. Those in public schools presumably had more ‘reason’ as the time off did more harm than good. The third term is meant for completion of syllabus and revision. Most of which was not done this time. While their counterparts in private schools, were enjoying the extra resource of their ever present teachers. Beyond the claim that they are always spoon-fed to excel this was more to bear for those who are in competition with them.

Do we blame our education system?

To be honest our education system is wanting. It needs a refocus. Everyone in Kenya is told the only way to make it in life is being a doctor, pilot, engineer or a surgeon. That you can only make it in life, if you are number one in your class. This is fueled by the fact that all our dads were number one in their classes. Truly how many schools could there have been then. Many children are suffering physically and mentally. Isn’t it torture to find a class one pupil in a school bus at 5:00 AM in the morning? The closest national exam is seven years away. What about the weight of their bags? Some carry bags almost equal to their weight.

Our education system is killing all possible opportunities for skilled education. It’s now all about papers not skills. From the abolishment of the skill based subject to being to grade focused. Every pupil wants to join the top-cream high schools in the country. Converting the recreational time to extended study time. This has resulted to suppressed talents and skills. Academic achievement is the song year in year out making schools lose their intended purpose of wholesome student development.

The education system we have is meant to have too many people with the same qualification so that with high supply of labor the cost to acquire is low and easy management of job turnover. What this has managed to achieve is many job seekers. Graduate with papers but no skills. Not even talents as they were sacrificed in exchange for papers.

Where is blue-collar future?

A looming crisis if not addressed. With conversion of almost all polytechnics into universities what is left for those who cannot join the universities with a transition rate of 53%. Means that there is 47% of KCSE candidates who don’t join universities. Where are they expected to go? Polytechnics were their hope. This is dooming them to hopelessness. This is among the reason every candidate is willing to be part of the top half performers. In the near future professional blue collar experts will be hard to find. Turning into the ‘white collar’. They will ask for gold as it will be hard to find and get qualification. This will be an ultimate table turn

To salvage the current education menace, it calls for joint effort. Wisdom is a key requirement in handling the situation.

Are you playing you role right?






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Stephen Siloma
Siloma describes himself as simple yet complex, difficult to fathom and a hard nut to crack. This Software Engineer and IT expert is passionate about designing websites, photography, video production, graphic design, playing piano, and writing poetry. He is the founder of a website dedicated to inspirational notes based on his own life experiences, talents, and passions.