By Dorcas Sarkozy
To say that the Kenyan education standards have gone to the dogs is an understatement. The rot is palpable in primary and secondary schools all the way to colleges and Universities. Students are taught to the test, meaning; students are trained to pass exams with flying colours while the schools put mediocre emphasis on learning. The goal is to give the schools a great overall rating at the national level. University standards are equally wanting. But first, let’s take a look at where it all starts.
Teachers and lecturers represent what’s best in us as Kenyans, they perform one of the most noble duties in the country, therefore, we must celebrate them and cater to their needs. The government must adhere to the collective bargaining agreements and ensure that teachers are not dejected or shortchanged at any level for they are crucial to the whole learning process. Hungry teachers can’t teach, dejected teachers will engage in go-slows at work and I don’t have to tell you how catastrophic that can be to pupils. You saw the prolonged teachers strike and the immeasurable damage that came as a byproduct of the whole fiasco.
While the ogre of examination cheating in schools didn’t start last year during the elongated labour union vs the government imbroglio, its safe to say that a hands-off approach by most teachers who care less actually enables the proliferation of cheating in examinations. It was embarrassing to see examination papers doing the rounds on social media and featuring on prime time news bulletins.
Sadly, those ‘beneficiaries’ will pass with flying colors and make it to the many public universities to pursue mega degree programs only to flunk the basics of their respective course work and be subjected to a litany of ‘redos’ or ‘sups.’ Some will ‘make it’ and graduate only to register underwhelming ratings in the job market!
Its therefore, not surprising when veteran professionals question the credibility and integrity of new entrants. Under microscope, are their qualifications. Many employers routinely doubt the authenticity of many college degrees and for a good reason. A new medical doctor who skips fundamental professional procedures instantly earns scrutiny. A new lawyer who argues like a layman and barely understands the Constitution of Kenya immediately raises eyebrows.
The crescendo of this unfortunate trend arrives when such half-baked graduates or form four graduates make it to our many legislative chambers! From parliament, Senate all the way to the County assemblies around the country, our law making bodies are awash with semi-literate folks who can barely construct a sentence. Never mind the fact that law makers must be able to read and understand the bills that they are voting on or sponsoring.
Since the new Constitution has specific stipulations on educational standards for certain office holders, some ambitious leaders decided to cut corners and registered to pursue university degrees and ended up ‘ graduating’ in record time. How weighty courses were condensed and delivered in that record time safely remain a miracle. But this goes to show just how our educational standards have been watered down. Politicians are also cheating by ‘getting’ what people fondly refer to as ‘ microwave’ degrees.
And to think that those are the folks who are making our laws and some of them are involved in crafting and formulating policies around the country, we must brace ourselves for more half-baked end products. This is not to say that everyone in college or high school falls in this category. Not at all. But there is an awful lot of questionable individuals out in the job market trying to do things that they have no clue what they are all about. Very unfortunate.