By Michael Okoth
One can as well argue that for almost a decade now,our Education system has mostly been churning out thousands of academic fraudsters,intellectual zombies and fake professionals who stream out of our universities annually to join the fast expanding joblessness sector.We should actually create a ministry for joblessness and transfer Dr.Matian’gi there to see how well he can perform there as well.
It’s no surprise therefore that you come across graduates who can barely sustain a 4-minute conversation in unadulterated English, leave alone engaging in a serious intellectual discourse.Some can’t even do a formal letter,be it for application of the nonexistent jobs they desperately seek or otherwise.
Right from the Private Primary Schools to the elite “big” and “excellent-performing” Secondary Schools to the congested and money-minded Public and Private Universities with their mushrooming satellite campuses eager to absorb the thousands of “bright” Secondary school ‘graduates’,our education sector is a total rot where money is now used to pursue good marks,great grades and degree certificates as opposed to pursuance of knowledge and skills.
When I did my K.C.S.E about a decade back at the prestigious Hono Secondary School in the bushy villages of North Alego,grade ‘A’ still had its value intact and getting it took sweat and blood,not just the school as it had become before Dr.Matian’gi happened around.It was very rare those days to get even 200As in the whole country,not like these days where a single school posts almost 300As without even breaking a sweat.
I don’t mean to brag but when I did my K.C.P.E at Uyoma Primary School back in early 2000,I was selected to join one of those big Schools(name withheld) whose name has been appearing a lot on the front pages of the newspapers immediately the K.C.S.E results are released,save for this year.It took biting poverty back home to save me from four years of outright academic drilling and subsequent fraud since I could not afford the colossal fees they were demanding from my poor mother back then.I ended up at Hono – a local day school where a few cows could be sold to see me through secondary school education.
At Hono,it was pure academic hustling;A mixed Day and Boarding Secondary School over 5km away from my village and largely populated by students from poor backgrounds,a poorly paid but misused,demoralized and frustrated subordinate staffs,demoralized and insufficient teaching staff,a capitalist head teacher(he always insisted to be called a principal)specialized in primitive accumulation of school resources for personal economic advancement and who could barely allow us peace of mind even with a fee balance of just 200/=,a dilapidated infrastructure with no power,no school bus, a ragged lab that most if not all of us used only thrice in our four years at the school- during the Physics/Chemistry/Biology introductions in Form One when we were being shown the rusty beakers,burettes,vernier callipers etc etc,during the District Mock practical exams in Form Four and the final (K.C.S.E) practical exams, and a funny looking library stocked with old books used in the 1930s to 1970s,Hono was the epitome of real struggle for academic empowerment.Hono was among those schools where you could sit for your final K.C.S.E without even clearing the Form Three syllabus,unless if you went the extra mile and did it on your own .In a nutshell,it was survival for the fittest at Hono, and for those who successfully survived,we can comfortably survive anywhere and everywhere,literally.
Now compare Hono to the so called “big” schools which have everything;uninterrupted power supply,executive school buses for endless education trips and exchange programs,highly motivated staffs,3 to 4 teachers complementarily handling one particular subject interchangeably,full syllabus coverage by Form Two or early Form Three with at least a full year of exam revision,same teachers going to set exams and even coming to revise the same with the students,fully equipped library and laboratory with unfettered access etc etc. yet they still afford the temerity to collude with some corrupt cartels at KNEC to cheat in exams?
Dr.Matian’gi has given hope to all those who never got the chance to be in those “big” schools to score “straight As ” that the ground can actually be levelled, and that going forward,we shall all be ranked on genuine scores and not on some cooked,fake grades whose owners cannot account for.Going forward, a ‘B’ from Hono a ‘B’ from Alliance, Man’gu,Starehe, Maranda,Chavakali and Moi Kabarak must be weighed equally and their owners rewarded equitably in the rare opportunities that accrue due to academic hustling.