Prof. Ken Walibora, according to his classmates, did not make the cut for university admission. He had to do some courses for probation officers at Kenya Institute of Administration, got employed elsewhere before being identified by KBC for employment as a Kiswahili newscaster and news editor. He was to be poached by NTV in 1999, according to Ngotho, writing in today’s Sunday Nation.
The departed author then enrolled for BA in Literature at The University of Nairobi. He went on to write so many books and study up to PhD level. He died a scholar, when a number of those who got admissions where he missed out, could only envy him.
From this story, it is apparent that not all who fail to attain university cut-off points are dunderheads as some of those who score the minimum required grades and above would want to trumpet. Some just do miss the cut off by a point or two, yet they were even better than some of these performers in their past exams like ‘mock exams’. It is even pointless to say that some people who fail exams could have been affected by other reasons, which are legion.
And those who score As and other fancy grades are not necessarily ‘choppies’, in brats’ lingo. Some of them underwent proper drilling to pass exams; others just stole exams ‘rando’, now that ours has been a rotten exam system for a while. One just needs to look at how some of these students sneak into the exam rooms with written things on their thighs and papers styled as ‘mwakenya’, and how doing a simple take-home assignment gives them problems, despite being given ample time to work on them. Others drop out of the prestigious courses that require the earnest students who can put in hard work — for they cannot cope.
Though this is something some of us learn rather too late, thanks to how we have been socialised, flunking an exam test does not necessarily mean one is an ‘unteachable’ fool. And no human is beyond being reformed.
That is why it is the height of wickedness that a parent — in a video doing rounds on social media — with something between his ears that is slightly bigger than a bean would descend on his child for failing exams, even if he has spent a colossal amount of money on his books and tuition.
Some of us are just slow learners in the mould of Charles Darwin and Albert Einstein, whom would not stand any chance in the current Kenyan education system. For Albert Einstein, the headmaster even wrote him off to the extent of advising his father that any money spent on him for education was money down the drain. Today, it is no longer in dispute that Albert Einstein is considered a genius.
And slow learners are inquisitive, says Darwin, as cited in ‘Critical Thinking’ book (by Richard Paul & Linda Elder ). ‘Na wakishika kitu na waelewe hawasahau’. Little wonder Einstein was a genious.
‘Remember’, Richard and Linda conclude, ‘ the race is to the tortoise, not hare. Be the tortoise’
By Real Collins Odhiambo via Facebook