Why national exams should be abolished

By Collins Musanga | Monday, Feb 3rd 2020 at 12:04
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Every time KCSE and KCPE results are released, two distinct\r\ncategories of learners emerge. On one hand are those the society regards are\r\nbright who then are honored in many ways including, but not limited to being\r\ncarried shoulder high, getting their photographs splashed on front pages of\r\ndaily newspapers and interviewed on TV.

Then there is another category of\r\nlearners who are viewed as failures. These group have no option but to accept\r\nthat that their destiny and reality of their performance. The fact their dismal\r\nperformance is attributed by the society to their laxity in academic work does\r\nnot make matters any better.

According the KCSE results of 2019, 421,057 which is 61.9\r\nper cent of candidates scored D+ and below. Those who scored C plain and C\r\nminus were 146,460 Candidates or 21.5 per cent. Only 112,380 or 16.6 per cent\r\nqualified to join university by scoring C+ and above. These KCSE results are\r\nbuilt on the inequality brewed and bred at primary level of schooling through\r\nKCPE results.

Majority of 16.6 per cent who qualified to join universities\r\nare products of elite national schools who interestingly had their\r\nprimary education in private primary schools. These results paint a picture of\r\nhow we continue to kill a whole generation without being ashamed. The biggest\r\ntragedy is that this kind of blatant inequality and injustice to learners who\r\ncome from humble backgrounds is celebrated, dramatised and given national highlight\r\nby celebrating a very small per cent of learners.

It is very unfortunate that we are condemning minors as\r\nyoung as 12 years as failures based on an exam done in a week or two.\r\nThis shameful tag of “a failure” has to be carried stoically by these learners\r\nto subsequent stages of life irrespective of the fact that by the time they sat\r\nthe exams, emotionally, physically and intellectually immature and\r\nunprepared. Government should attempt to end poverty and provide equality of\r\nopportunity by trying to compensate for unequal social conditions.

There must be a compensatory education designed to provide\r\nspecial instructions in spreading and other skills to offset disadvantages in\r\npreparation for formal schooling. However, rather than providing equality of\r\nopportunity to learn and excel, our system reproduces and reinforces\r\nsocial-class differences. In essence, family income determines educational\r\nsuccess and, consequently, the student’s future income. The standardised exams fail\r\nto take into consideration two things.

One is that children from middle class families join private\r\nschools which give them grades to join national public schools.\r\nSecondly, is the fact that learners in this country don’t begin the race of\r\neducation on the same mark. I subscribe to the philosophy that rejects the idea\r\nof inherited intelligence as justification for entrenched inequality.

I believe that intellectual ability is primarily\r\nor to a greater extent a result of environment. In the nurture versus\r\nnature debate, I would go with nurture to the extent that differences in\r\nmeasured intelligence reflect the social conditions. Until the day our schools\r\nwill produce critical thinkers, problem solvers, creative individuals, who are\r\nknowledgeable there will be no end to the myriad of problems we face as a\r\ncountry.

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