The scandal that is kindergarten graduation

Kindergarten graduation.
Social media has been awash with pictures of toothless smiles aglow with pride. In tow, have been equally delighted parents who put hilarious captions on these photos.

From thanking God for the mean fete that is being able to blow noses without help, to teary faces over their children’s newly-found ability to say three-letter words, Kenyan parents have proven they can be extra.

Not to understate the achievement that these young ones have made. Far from it. Being able to count to 100 every day for the last year without being bored to death is an achievement worth celebrating.

Extortion by schools

Kindergarten graduation is now ingrained in our culture with parents having to fork out ridiculous amounts of money for the celebrations.

Learning institutions go the extra mile to hire gowns, grounds, and even pay MCs to ensure the events are colorful and memorable.

Very brave school owners charge as much as Sh4,000 for these ceremonies. Are jobs guaranteed for graduates after graduation? Even my university graduation did not cost that much.

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Parte after parte

We look for every possible excuse to throw parties. Add the graduation amount to the cost of cake, gifts, food for guests, and you have spent Sh10,000 or more.

I know why Kenyans are not angry enough with the state of the nation. We are not broke enough.

Imagine being okay with paying such an exorbitant figure for this ceremony. And of course, after the main party during the day, there will be an adult-only party where parents must appreciate themselves too because of paying school fees and all the hard work.

To the parents I say: Relax, you have twenty more years to pay school fees; this is not even a quarter of the expected costs of raising a child.

The real heroes

This opportunity should be used to celebrate and reward the teachers who have worked so tirelessly to ensure these kids learn the basic elements of civilization.

From handwashing to table manners, and even how to express themselves, these teachers are the ones who should be feted on this day.

Many kids are not well potty-trained as they join kindergarten. These teachers change their soiled clothes and even clean them as they teach them how to use the bathroom.

Appreciating the teachers would also teach the children a culture of gratitude and thanksgiving.

And before you tell me it’s the teacher’s job, the meagre salaries they earn do not come anywhere close to the trouble they go through.

Maybe one day, we will truly honour the heroes of the day.

Meanwhile, I am off to my son’s graduation. I will post details on the venue for the after-party later. 

Tracy Njeru's story was one of the winners in a citizen journalism competition organised  by U-Report

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