Third Eye

Why obsession with exam points need to stop 

Monday, April 25th, 2022 00:00 | By
Students in class. PHOTO/Courtesy

University education is very important as it opens your mind to very many things. As a university graduate, you are at the cutting edge of the principles, concepts, theories and most importantly the skills and knowledge in a discipline you have specialised in.

 In fact, university graduates have demonstrated that they can apply their knowledge, skills and campus experience and curve a professional area in an array of fields. During our days from high school, the respect that came with getting that university cut-off marks, which was somewhere at B plain, was the hallmark of respect in the village and the pride of parents. 

It was as if anything below B plain was a condemnation of sort and schools that produced many students who got B plain and above, attracted a lot of attention. 

Members of Parliament, provincial administration leaders and all cadres of leaders had no time for schools that did not produce enough students with B plain. 

This trend of condemning students who did not attain university entry marks bread a culture of pass at all cost and immediately some of us were done with the drama and trauma of KSCE results it does appear parents, teachers and the society at large, learnt just like Chinua Achebe’ Eneke the bird that the time had come for them to fly without perching. 

The era of massive passing ensued and the rate at which students were getting As was too alarming. 

Some parents, teachers, school administrators and in some instances siblings and friends realised that they had to do anything and everything to get their sons and daughters to get those As. 

You would understand the situation then because families were in competition, schools were in competition, leaders were lurking, waiting to celebrate only the schools and students who did well.

In fact, life in my hometown kind of used to come to a standstill to students whose schools names did not appear in the newspapers. The schools that were lucky to get to the newspaper pages would run riot in town and make noise and sometimes it was hilarious because the noise makers in school buses were not even the candidates who sat for the exams. 

What was important back then was one was going to campus and there were only six public universities in Kenya with limited spaces. 

It does appear that old habits die hard. Even in the current day and age, when we know that KSCE is not the alpha and omega of life, all the principals and head teachers are quick to point out the university entry numbers. 

You see, we have Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) centres in almost every constituency in this country and it is shocking that everyone is still gloating over the number of students who have attained the university cut off grades. 

These TVETs are probably a lot more critical for producing a workforce that will address a lot of what the current crop of politicians are promising Kenyans in the campaign trail. Whether it is the bottom-up economy, the cottage industries or enabling the SMEs and the micro-SMEs, TVETs and the polytechnics are very critical. 

A good number of the current crop of governors, MPs and Senators attained their university qualifications as adults and most because they were seeking these leadership positions. Therefore, one would expect their leadership to focus on 100 per cent transition to vocational trainings, universities and colleges. 

Leadership is not about success, but building systems and structures that would benefit the society without disenfranchising any segment of the society. 

Kenyans already know where the students who have As and C+ might end up, and what we need going forward are solid conversations around those students with Ds and grades that no one is talking about. 

They also need a country that provides opportunities for them and not a country that eliminates them from the conversation.

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