The release of this year’s Kenya Certificate of Secondary Examination (KCSE) revealed everything that’s wrong with this country-the potential to defeat corruption but choosing the state of inertia instead. It turns out cartels that are running sectors of this country are not as powerful as the politicians would want us to believe. Corruption can actually be nipped in the bud. Education Cabinet Secretary (CS) Fred Matiangi couldn’t have given Kenyans a better New Year gift.
In less than one year CS Matiangi has shamed corrupt schools and parents who facilitated corruption in education through the usual cartels. There were only 141 students who scored perfect ‘A’s in the entire country. This is quite telling considering in 2015 and 2014, we had cases where a single school was producing over 200 students with perfect As. Clearly, the rot in our education was about to reach the high heavens.
Kenya National Examination Council (KNEC) boss Prof. Magoha cautioned parents against the obsession with getting the “A” grade. His sentiments were stemming from the fact that parents too had contributed immensely in the corruption witnessed in the education sector as they did everything in their power including greasing the hands of the cartels to buy grades for their children. If parents, teachers and education officials could collude to deny a student their rightful grade because of selfish reasons then we shouldn’t be surprised why we vote in corrupt thieves and justify it with silly arguments like “the better thief!”
The 2016 KSCE results should make us reflect as a country and how we can do things differently in the coming New Year. That more than half the students who sat for the exams got grades D and E is proof that our teachers are no longer teaching. They’re busy speculating exams and buying material to drill into students. The result is students with better grades but loose morals and empty heads. No wonder our universities too no longer produce students who can make significant positive difference in our lives other than burning vehicles and businesses whenever aggrieved.
The effectiveness that Jubilee government has demonstrated in the education sector is the same we demand in other sectors stinking with corruption in the New Year. It’s laughable and indeed insulting that the government can stop the cartels in education sector on their tracks but can’t do the same when it comes to the land ministry where there’s allegedly blatant land grabbing by high ranking officials. We expect the government to be serious with those lands officers who take Kenyans in circles selling the same land to more than one person with complete disregard of how their actions affect the victims.
Where corruption is not given room people are peaceful and satisfied even when the outcome is not what they expected. In fact, this year’s KCSE results have given the worst performance ever yet we don’t see people rushing to the streets to complain because the system was tamper-proof. This is the same thing we want to see with the general elections. The dishonorable behavior we saw with MPs from across the political divide and the Jubilee’s passing of the controversial amendments is an example of what we don’t want. The excessive lobbying by politicians regarding the person who should be IEBC chair and the hard-line positions maintained by the government and the opposition is exactly what makes those of us observing from a distance smell mischief.
If we can reorganize KNEC and make it deliver credible results and yet it has more logistics as it oversees several candidates doing exams on a yearly basis, surely why shouldn’t we make IEBC a credible institution yet it carries out the elections, at least once every five years. Why are we making this such a mammoth task?
Rather than misleading the public about network issues and spreading fear about individuals not accepting the results the government is better placed to ensure credible elections. The Senate has shown its mettle unlike the National Assembly. Moving forward both the government and opposition should sit down on behalf of the country; where possible hire the technology from countries that employed them to perfection and consider a backup system that is tamper-proof. Matiangi has restored hope in KNEC, will the politicians help chart a new era by championing tamper-proof elections?