They say the best form of flattery is imitation. The violence presently rocking our schools can as well be mimicking our violent society. But in the face of PREDICTABLE secondary school unrest towards the end of second term our leaders borrow from the tired book of commission and task forces. Granted, the cause of student riots and arson in schools is a multifaceted phenomenon which is almost singularly oiled by corruption in its varied forms.
Second term of the school’s academic year is defined by mock exams that only succeed in straining students. These exams that are meant to provide a preface kind of feeling of the real exam later in the year are a complete paradox. While the syllabus is designed to be completed in four years, the mock exams in effect encourage rush teaching with a premium on quantity of material covered rather than quality. Add this to the preoccupation of KCSE ranking of schools and you get the best recipe for tension that only need a spark which is often readily available thanks to drugs and alcohol.
Our parents have reduced their responsibilities to biological, period. Abdicating parenting responsibilities marks the genesis and root cause of this teenage unrest. While boarding schools may be considered a colonial relic that has outlived its usefulness, disbanding them may be a quick fix that will only leave the problem to spread its destructive tentacles. The need for CHANGE in Kenya has never been more urgent especially in our education system. Teachers are overwhelmed by the twin roles of parenting gangs of energetic and often rebellious youths and imparting cognitive skills.
Corruption has its rightful place in the whole mess. Political influence and under hand promotions has bequeathed incompetent head teachers responsibilities they have no idea of handling. Well-performing secondary schools are cash cows for such principals whose resulting disproportional wealth leaves the other teachers demoralized when they see somebody unfairly reaping from their efforts. Corruption too also ensures steady supply of illicit drugs within schools. The untouchable drug barons hold Kenya at ransom while destroying her youth.
The present riots may be a reflection of a society steadily hurtling towards failure. Our leaders are not doing the unrest any good by falling to the old gimmick of task forces who will shamelessly end up duplicating reports from their predecessors. Lack of leadership in all shapes and spheres is our bane. When confronted with a crisis we resort to making impressions of motion with no singular actual movement. Our version of success is so warped in our HELL-FOR-LEATHER mentality so much so that scoundrels readily pass for role models for our kids. We are a country is dire traits and in critical need of RENEWAL.