Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Sharing Our Knowledge and Experiences With Others

"I believe that children are our future
Teach them well and let them lead the way
Show them all the beauty they possess inside
Give them a sense of pride...

Everybody is searching for a hero
People need someone to look up to..."
- Whitney Houston.

The 2013 Kenya Certificate of Secondary Education (KCSE) results were officially released yesterday by Education Cabinet Secretary, Professor Jacob Kaimenyi.
Thanks to both the overall and national schools rankings, I do feel there is an urgent need to rethink and actually do something about academic performance and the success of learning institutions in Kenya.

Sleeping Giants

A top performing school that I attended is now ranked 26th overall and 15th among National schools.
Looking back, Mang'u High School has always been among the top ten for decades, and has attained top position for a good number of years.

I do believe such drastic change in performance provides a most needed opportunity to reflect and identify the reasons why this and other schools are no longer performing as expected.
Also, and of more importance, this also serves as a poignant reminder of just how easily the mighty can fall. History has shown time and again, that the mighty do fall, with the following being both stages of decline and warning signs of impending doom:
  1. hubris born of success
  2. undisciplined pursuit of more
  3. denial of risk and peril
  4. grasping for salvation
  5. capitulation to irrelevance or death
 Whatever has in KCSE 2013 happened to Starehe Boys Centre and School, Mang'u High School and others should be a case study for us all, a cautionary tale for top schools and a source of hope for those who refuse to believe that top positions are the reserve of a chosen few. Schools which have performed dismally in the past now know that they need not acquire a culture of submission and despair. Likewise, top schools that house the elite and have acquired status now realize they can no longer promote the belief that there is a special few.

The Author's Note in Samuel M. Wamae's 'How to Win in the Coming Jua Kali Boom' contains the following enduring insight:

Status, wealth or attainment are the result of endeavor and not natural endowment... people of status continue to fall from grace and others with humble beginnings attain prominence.

Now is the Time to Act

In view of the foregoing, what can we as individuals do to make things better?

I have in recent days decided to share my past experiences that resulted in exemplary academic performance for over a decade of my life (between 1987 and 1998), during which time I consistently attained top position and remained top in class both in Nderu Primary and Mang'u High schools. In both primary and secondary school, I witnessed near impeccable academic success - both mine and that of my classmates. There is something students, parents and educators can learn and gainfully apply from such that.

For this reason, I have already started writing this book and commenced speaking sessions. It is my understanding that if we share both our knowledge and experiences, we can positively influence those who need those insights most.

Today's students are undoubtedly facing a wide array of challenges both in their academic pursuits and other aspirations in life. True, they do have different distractions to deal with than we had.
While these challenges may be new, and the tools with which they'll be met modern, the values upon which academic success depends remain old.

It is for this reason that I have decided to fully address myself in activities whose primacy is improvement in academic performance for our children, for that is what matters most to them now.
In any case, twenty years of each person's life are typically spent in school. Two decades is a lengthy period of time, and worth taking seriously.


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