Monday, March 03, 2008

too much rat race

Just the other day when i was enjoying a lazy-after-lunch ride in a colleagues car, we almost had a fatal crash, why because the other car which should have given us way decided that the split second was enough to give him the much needed lead in any traffic jam ahead. in fact i must thank the colleague's very good brakes and his alertness and presence of mind else i would not be blogging today. the other car got 'its' way and we followed only for us to meet the inevitable jam but now we were in a different 'lane' and we had an advantage.

that small incidence reminded us just how competing we Kenyans are. people always want to be ahead. even when walking along the hawker packed roads in the CBD, people push and shove just to get ahead but for what gain. in fact i normally marvel why even when coming out of a plane, people shove and push yet you still have to spend almost your whole life waiting for the luggage. and at that time first come is not always first served.

But competition is not only in the roads, alleys and airplane, even after the historic signing of the peace deal between Raila and Kibaki, Kenyans are asking themselves whether Raila or Kibaki lost in the deal. Was is it about winning and losing or about peace and drafting a way forward for the country!!!

it is this obsession with winning and losing that makes parents invest whole life saving on their kids to go to the 'best' schools. best here meaning schools that will appear in the papers as top 10s, top 50 or 100. it doesnt matter if the kids become all books but no substance. some even fail to make relationships even though they are 'academic giants'.

But if you don't have it you cant get it and so most schools that find themselves under intense pressure sometimes involve themselves in dirty tricks including 'loaning' academic superstars from other schools to boost their mean grade. some teachers enforce very high 'pass marks' which must be attained if you are to sit the national exam. enough kids have been forced to repeat and consequently had their lives ruined due to this madness. some teachers openly steal exams for their students with very negative consequences. last week the minister for education showed us a case where the student had written whole notes on his shirt. reminding me of a time in the university when some girls were caught with notes on their inner thighs. problem was the invigilator did not know how to show that evidence to the university senate!

And yesterday i was talking to some parents whose kids got Ys in last years KCSE. meaning that the results were canceled due to cheating. the school had more than 15% cheating cases and so all the kids, innocent or otherwise were affected. the penalty is a 2 year ban. the parents are wondering what to do with 18year-olds for 2 good years before they can go back to redo the papers. All for what? just because the Teachers wanted their school to shine. schools which have had such incidences in the past like Kisii high face very strict marking and invigilating which also affects the students performance.

All for what ? Winning and losing!


  1. Od, to answer your question or respond to your post, all our problems start and end with one word. Poverty.

  2. In addition, greed, otherwise if it’s an issue of poverty then our rural areas would be the worst hit as that’s where poverty has pitched a tent.
    I think pure capitalism subjects individuals to view money as the only reason for existence. All our actions are geared to earning/making more and even more. Humans then work for money instead of money working for them.


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