The KCSE exam results came out in the last week of 2016 and everyone was shocked as reality hit home that we have been living a lie.
There were fewer A graders than in previous years.
This was not a surprise to some of us who long observed that many Form Four graduates were half-baked. Education long became a business and students are forced to pass exams through cramming and revising rehearsed questions.
Today, students studying tough courses like medicine, engineering and architecture are spotted ‘rioting’ in clubs most weekends, yet in our time, only the brightest and special could pull off such stunts.
I studied for a diploma in pharmacy and still got nightmares whenever exams came calling and I hadn’t revised enough.
Ask any one who studied organic chemistry and they will tell you about a book by Morrison and Boyd that resembled an encyclopaedia, yet one had to finish it.
Long after graduating, we learnt that students who came after us never even read half of Morrison and Boyd.
The history of students being spoon-fed and stuffed with exam leakage started in the early 2000s when some private schools started having Sunday tuition.
I remember a private primary school in Buru surprising many by having its students beating leading primary city council schools.
The students were admitted in leading national schools which later regretted after four years as the ‘A’ students dropped in performance in the face of spoon-fed learning having come to an end.
Shortly, most secondary schools refused to admit students from such schools.
Business of education moved from primary to secondary schools where spoon-feeding programmes saw many students securing places in universities.
It first started with private schools leading in results followed by traditional national school heavy weights.
Gradually, students became geniuses overnight, scoring straight ‘As’ as if they were hanging fruits waiting to be plucked.
Prof George Magoha, the Chairman of the Kenya National Examinations Council (Knec), was right when he said that Kenyans still recalled the A students by both names 20 years after mesmerising the country.
Funny thing is that some shady universities have joined the fray and are producing graduates who are not ready for the job market. Indeed, some spoon-fed ‘A’ students at the University of Nairobi, I am told, don’t even go past the first year at the School of Medicine. Most change courses or drop out.
Being spoon-fed as young students leads to a battalion of youth who can hardly handle the pressures of life.
I am not a psychologist, but I can guess the issues of increased alcoholism, drug abuse and even suicide might be related to having no one to spoon-feed them after graduating and any molehill hurdle becomes a mountain of impossibility.
Let us accept we had failed as a country and make our children work hard.
There are fewer students doing actual research from books in the library and more resorting to Google. Result? Half-baked graduates.
This obsession with short cuts leads to corruption later in life as the spoon-fed try getting tenders under the table after canvassing and offering bribes.
So, when I see parents going to court to sue Knec over grades that are inconsistent with what their children have been getting, I just laugh. Why don’t they wait and see how they will perform in secondary school?