Just blame the teacher, and all will be fine

Your children are spoilt? Just blame the teacher

Two critical things happened in the recent past.

First, over 2,000 pupils scored between 1 and 100 marks after an entire eight years of schooling. This schooling, you must remember, is offered freely and benevolently by the State.

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Secondly, reports indicate that students who had just finished sitting their Kenya Certificate of Secondary Education (KCSE) examination hurled insults at Education CS Amina Mohamed and her colleague in the Interior ministry, Fred Matiang’i.

They were also said to have bragged that they cheated in the heavily guarded examination.

From the two incidents, the reactions from Kenyans is predictable: Just blame the teacher and all will be fine. After all, parents have always played their part by washing their hands off the products of their own genes in such matters.

Of the two incidents, it is the second that needs further looking at. As an artiste, I am inclined to lean towards the theatrical and avoid the blunt in analysing it.

The drama depicting raw acting talent gone rogue that soon went viral on social media was staged amid raging flames; flames that the performers of this play had lit using their own books.

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When I was in school they used to call this an academic fire. It is possible that because of the need to invite a sense of the dramatic, these boys christened theirs “un-academic fire”.

Unprintable insults

In the background of these flames, reports indicate that the boys proceeded to hurl unprintable insults at the two Cabinet secretaries and bragged that they still managed to cheat despite massive efforts to stem the vice.

Kenyans reaction? Blame the teacher!

You must blame the teacher because our students cannot have learnt this behaviour from anywhere else; because our students are blind and do not see what happens beyond the classroom.

We must blame the teacher because our children do not watch TV or follow social media as adults stage dramas of their own using similar, sometimes worse, name-calling.

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They do not even watch as our honourable MPs sometimes engage in name-calling and fist fights, and take to the platform in smear campaigns laced with lewd references and outright insults.

No, they do not, so, just blame the teacher!

I am sure our children do not watch our country’s political shenanigans, be it in school or at home.

Even when they do, it is the teacher we must be to blame. For why hasn’t the teacher taught our children manners when we parents pay a lot of money in school fees? We pay our teachers so well that we must be allowed to abdicate our responsibility as parents!

Even the examination thieving the boys featured in their little theatre of the absurd claimed to have effectively done despite the millions spent by Government officers who helped teachers to invigilate the exams, blame the teacher too!

Thieving tendencies

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Do not blame our national thieves for rubbing off their stealing talent onto the school children. These children have never watched news on how billions have disappeared from our national coffers; they also have not been keenly following news to notice that no one has been held to account for this public theft!

All we need to know is that teachers are supposed to have done their work well to protect the children from the thieving tendencies of their own parents and from the dubious underhand dealings that are rampant in our society.

Teachers, the best paid in the world, we have been told, are also supposed to offer credible explanations to their pupils why no one gets punished for stealing, lying, slandering, bribing, name it!

The only time we must put teachers out of the picture is when top performers in our national examinations are invited to on TV screens.

Only then must we allow the children to be accompanied by their parents, who must be cast to a gleeful audience as models of good parenting and motivators of their children.

Only during this time must we allow teachers not to be part of the script; allow them to join the audience and watch as credit for the work of their hands is transferred to another person.

There are two things I must do before I end this: first, I sympathise with the two senior Government officers who were insulted by students the age of their children simply for doing their jobs.

Secondly, I want to re-state a piece of our social reality about our attitude on teachers (I am one too): Every time you see your children, whether they be at home or in school, do all manner of things and want someone to blame, look no further, just blame the teacher and all will be fine.

Dr Wesonga is a lecturer at the University of Kabianga, Kericho

EducationAmina MohamedKCSE