The first memory I ever got in my mind was when I joined school for the first time in my life. It was the day I thought that my mother hated me much enough to leave me with strangers for a whole day. Though she meant good for me I cried the whole day till she appeared at the gate at 3 in the afternoon. That day marked the beginning of my education life.
My mother always encouraged me to work on my studies hard. She always told me that education is the key to a good life. When I joined upper primary, I got to learn that education was the only key to a good life as my teachers put it. I worked hard and topped in class on several occasions.
When I sat for my KCSE exam in 2002 I was optimistic that I would join a good national school. My dreams were in line because I scored 385 of the possible 500 marks. Turns out that I was not the only one who passed but there were thousands others who did better than me. My invitation letter was not even for a provincial school but a district school.
I remember that dreadful moment when I heard that. I viewed myself as a failure and nothing that I would do would amount to anything useful. I spent the next four years in a private high school regretting why I did not “pass”. I always felt like I had really let my mother down with all the hopes and expectations she had for me. Without having joined a good high school you are always sure that you will amount to nothing in the end because your chances of joining university are minimal. Though I later joined university, I still felt that I would have done better had I scored a better mark back in primary school and joined either a national or provincial high school.
Such is the problem with many families in Kenya. The system has made it all about education that anyone who does not perform well enough is deemed a failure. It does not matter how competent a person is but rather the academic qualifications that he or she has.
It is so saddening to see kids as young as 14 committing suicide because they did not attain the pass mark. Teachers also tend to discriminate those who are not good academically. The pressure is too much on everybody to excel academically that they have actually not noticed the many chances available to make it in life other than academics.
The ministry of education should reintroduce artisan courses back I school so as to help those who are slow in academics. We cannot all be gifted in the same way otherwise the world would be such a bore. Some of the richest and most famous people were not academic giants back in school but were rather the people that used their different talents to achieve what they got.