By John Kariuki
A retired colleague who is now retired had a short fuse with nearly everybody. When he boarded matatus, no conductor dared to insult or overcharge him for he would shed off all the dignity of a teacher and match them blow for blow in a verbal duel! Frequently, the touts would blink first. Needless to say, this man was a legend of sorts.
Many people thought him mad and dared not cross his path and especially by precipitating a row in public.
When given his peace, this teacher would be a symbol of calmness and manners associated with the learned. And if you brought up a serious debate, he would also come “up market” and contribute seminally. Is he two people in one, a ruffian and a gentlemen all rolled in one like Robert Louis Stevenson’s classical double character in Doctor Jekyll and Mr Hyde?
But unlike this retiree, many learned people frequently have neither wits nor spontaneity of thought. Just pluck them out of their gregarious and sheltered lives and you will have the perfect example of beached whales! They are clueless.
Their apparent pomposity, precludes them from hitting back even in the face of personal affront. So, they are at the mercy of functionally illiterate “soldiers,” guards, who yell at them in banking halls and parking lots. They plead guilty along our highways when pedestrians and cyclists clearly break the Highway Code and cause accidents. Instead of toughening it out and waiting for the police, the learned often chicken out and pay hush money!
And the newest game in town is where young women, with only a modicum of education, are snaring learned men by begetting children with them. They then run away and sue for child support using our enthusiastic new constitution!
Captives to paradigms
This way, many hapless guys are getting their wages attached. The women are drawing an instant income and keeping their freedom to flirt and further their careers with other unsuspecting learned men!
And the culprit in all these is our present education system. It makes us totally colourless and clueless. So we don’t think but are captives to paradigms and facts as suggested by brochures, the mass media, and “consultants” of all hues.
Our present education merely furthers the economic, social and political interests of foreigners, making us misfits in our own country. It is short on virtues and nationalistic ideals despite the many committees that have been tinkering with it since Independence.
If the lengthy queues at foreign embassies in search of travel documents is anything to go by, then there is something fundamentally wrong in what is taught in school.