The Ignorance that Encircles the Kenyan Education System

There is a perception that career choices should just–and the key word here is “just”–be related to academic performance. If a student performs well in a certain subject then it means that they are better off choosing a career that is related to that subject. But what about students who are able to cheat or just cram very well. By cramming I mean a student is able to take a snap shot of the book(s) they are reading and probably have a memory that is good enough to just last him or her through a particular exam. Yes, what about such students?? Scholars in Kenya know the pressure that comes with academic performance. They toil as much as they can to ensure that they do not fail in exams–maybe that’s why exam-cheating is common in Kenya–

I believe that parents are out of touch with what their children are doing or interested in and to some extend I may understand why–I mean with these hectic economic times it is no wonder that parents have been forced to constantly look for their next pay or “cheese” if you like. My only concern with this is as a society we are opting the easier way out–at least when it comes to choosing careers. For example, when the form twos get to finally drop subjects–the process is filled with a lot of ambiguity–sometimes parents strongly depend on the school to make these choices for their children, and for some cases, parents are passionately motivated with what they wish they had been in the career world. The only downside of this is that the student is forgotten throughout the process. This period should be a route that determines whether these students are able to achieve success and fulfillment in their chosen career paths–in short it should be taken seriously. In my experience as a career counselor I have noted that insufficient career guidance could literally be strangling students’ potential to experience job satisfaction in the future. I am not sure how many Kenyans wake up feeling yeeeyy!!!! am ready for another day at work. I stand to be corrected but I get the sense that many do not. There is no job satisfaction and if there is, quite few can claim it.  Could the lack of job satisfaction be related to the pressure that surrounds academic performance??? “I need to not fail–may be just cram!! cram!! cram!! and I’ll be OK” or “let me cheat and get the grade they want.” Unconsciously it has been made normal for students to get into a field that they are not interested in just as long as they can pass the exams. By the end of a  four-year degree program some students lack the drive to look for or initiate employment opportunities because they are just not into whatever they did in college/universities. They have been boxed to think that life is about what the society wants–not what they themselves want–this not only plays around with their self-esteem but also derails opportunities they may have otherwise grabbed. Knowing yourself–what are my interests? what are my values? and what are my skills? ensures a sound mind when choosing subjects or courses in schools and universities/colleges. If scholars are able to get this part right then they become naturally motivated towards working hard in their chosen subjects or courses. As a result, cramming or cheating would no longer be an issue. My hope is that we finally stop putting up with the ignorance that encircles our education system because if we don’t we may as well be as giving up on our students’ future careers.

By: Kathleen Lihanda, MBA – Founder & Senior Career Coach – My Career Identity