By Wandia njoya via fb
So I go back to the office and the file hasn’t arrived. The lady goes to the archive, finds the file, and takes me to go to the finance office. It’s now a thing, because they don’t see people my age coming back for transcripts.
At the finance office, the lady goes through my file and says she can’t find my fee clearance receipt. I was like: I don’t remember anything like that, because we were all JAB students in those days. But she persists, and when she doesn’t find it, she asks me when I graduated. I say 94, and she gets the fee balance file for 94 graduates. She can’t find my number. So after a few minutes, I tell her well, I was in the A level group, so maybe you could check there. She goes, gets the file, finds my number.
Apparently I owe KU money.
It doesn’t make sense. There’s a clearance form which has been stamped by Finance. But she says the only way I won’t pay is if I show her the receipt for clearing the fees. Where will I find a 24 year old receipt? And I cannot remember anything like that happening when we were undergrads. But anyway, it’s past 5pm, so I have to go back tomorrow. And clear my fees balance.
So now I’m calling my mother for the files that are still at home. I love my mother. She sees common sense which I don’t see. So she says: it doesn’t make sense that they want you to verify your own certificates. If you had got your certificates from River Road, you’ll simply go there again.
But here’s the other absurdity of the rule. I have to verify my certificates from KU, but people who did all their degrees in Kenya don’t have to verify their certs from the same institutions. Clearly, the point is 1. to tax us who dared to study abroad, and 2. to humiliate us for daring to have options.
Again, this humiliation or hazing is still not as annoying as the two implications I’ve talked about:
1. GoK is basically saying that if you don’t do well in form 4, that result will follow you for the rest of your life, no matter what you do. And yet, the same Magoha and Amina Mohammed were saying last week that people should not feel bad if they didn’t pass, because not passing is not the end of the world. Well guess what, it actually is the end of the world. If your kid doesn’t get good marks in Standard 8, that’s the end of the road for him.
From now on, when you’re lamenting about exam cheating, please don’t expect me to join the bandwagon. Because now I completely get why people engage in exam cheating. And that’s what capitalism does. It makes you have no option but to cheat and then blames you for cheating like you had a choice.
2. the fact that lecturers, who studied in other countries and may have seen what democracy looks like, can accept this kind of humiliation, is very disappointing. But it also explains why the voice of academics is missing from conversations about what is happening in our country, and especially to our education. I have kept asking why lecturers are not discussing the privatization of education or the introduction of managerialism. But now I understand why. We lecturers are upper class snobs, just without (or some with) the wealth to go with our snobbery. That is why we bully and harass, and why we have few ideas to show for our status. We are part of the bourgeoisie Fanon was talking about. We don’t mind the humiliation because we think it makes us better and gives us the status to humiliate the next lot.
So I don’t think the education system will be redeemed by my generation. If you are my age, I’m not writing this for you. And if you have a PhD, and especially if you are permanently employed in a Kenyan university, I have even less respect for you. The government is doing all it can to humiliate us, to destroy education, and we have nothing to say. We don’t mind the system. We want to negotiate with it, and benefit from it. And humiliate our children with it. We want consultancies and admin jobs from it. We don’t care about the children of Kenya and what destroying education will mean for them.
I’m writing this for our children who are actually saying there is a problem, who inbox me to ask how they can challenge their mistreatment at the universities. They care. And I will keep quoting Nikki Giovanni to our youth:
“You, my children of battle, are your heroes/You must invent your own games and teach us old ones how to play.”