No sooner had Education Cabinet Secretary Fred Matiang’i finished announcing this year’s KCSE results than Kenyans jammed the social media.
While some had congratulatory messages for the CS, others displayed their dismay at the turn of events. Only 141 students scored A plain compared to 2,636 last year. Only 88,929 students scored C+ against 398,116 in 2015.
These results point to a deeply entrenched system of cheating that had infiltrated our education sector.
But perhaps it is the pronouncement by Dr Matiang’i that our current problems in education and other sectors may have their roots in exam cheating that amplifies the magnitude of this issue.
Indeed, a workforce drawn from students who cheated in exams cannot be relied upon to sufficiently and effectively serve the welfare of a society.
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Workers who exhibit ineptitude at work and don’t take assignments seriously are all products of a botched system of education riddled with cheating.
Another issue which the CS appeared to single out, albeit cautiously, was the fact that by previous exams having condoned cheating, places meant for students from humble backgrounds might have been given to the rich with deep pockets to buy grades.
Meritocracy in national examinations give students from humble backgrounds, deemed outsiders of our capitalist society a chance to face off with unbridled conditions of those from privileged families.
Therefore failure to guard against theft of this precious opportunity given to the downtrodden to break off from the circle of poverty is the worst form of oppression any regime can be mete out on its citizens.
As we commend Dr Matiang’i for the good results, who will take responsibility for many deserving young men and women who were unlawfully denied entrance into universities?
The net effect of having denied right people places universities is that we have missed out on innovators, thinkers who would have transformed our society.
Education has for long been assumed to belong in the hands of a few. In fact, it had been conceived as a limited resource accessed only by the rich.
The rich who target “elite” private primary schools are keen to have their kids “perform” well and join prestigious national public schools from where their tickets to prestigious universities is assured.