KENYAN EDUCATION SYTEM…..Time for change.

Every parents dream is to have their child on the list of 100 best students in the Kenya Certificate of Primary Education(KCPE) because that will guarantee that their child will see the gates of some of the best schools in the country.For any parent with means to take their child there after they pass these examinations it is bliss but it is also sad to note that there are parents who though their children are bright and meet the criteria for joining these schools choose to forfeit these chances.National schools have all the facilities that apart from private run schools all other schools in the public school criteria dream about.Form well stocked libraries to laboratories to games and sport facilities you name it,these school have earned the title as they put a lot of hard work in their academics and only get the creme de la creme of the teaching fraternity.

We know all too well the anxiety and flurry of activity that greets the exam periods in Kenya.Street hawkers and supermarkets stock up on the success cards we love to send out to our relatives and friends children and in early November these young tots sit their exams hoping and praying to outshine their classmates and be declared the best student in the country.In late December just after the Christmas holiday is over the results are out and everything station goes out to look for these bright students n every far flung area of the country.Watching them extol the virtues of hard work and discipline it is clear to see they are glad the exams are over and done with and they can now move to other things.Yet in my opinion education should be interesting and fun because it never ends,i have yet to hear of a student who says they enjoyed their time in school.Drilling and cramming will never instill the curiosity to learn that should be the way we take everything in love.National Geographic puts it very well in their live curious advert,when you are curious you will seek to know and to you therefore learn and acquire knowledge in the process.

KCPE has been a constant fixture in Kenyan lives since the start of the 8-4-4 system of education.But as time goes on a lot of other parents have decided to enrol their children in schools that are offering the British system of education and some are sending their children to Uganda too our next door neighbor whose system is structured like the British system with students sitting exams in their sixth form and they have had the system since the 60’s

Education experts who determine what our children are taught in schools need to tell us if the syllabus they are offering to Kenyan students prepares them for the world out here.While education means different things to everyone and there is no one agreed definition even among the experts dictionary.com defines it as the act of acquiring general knowledge, and developing the power of reason and judgment.Looking at the cases of delinquency in Kenyan schools from burning of school property to riots it is time we asked ourselves whether we are imparting the right kind of education at home and at school.Education is a three legged stool and needs the parents,school administration and the student them selves for it to work.A missing link and it will not work,so parents do need to play a role in what their children are learning in school,they are stake holders in these process and need to make their voices heard and roles taken up seriously.If you read on the stories of successful people in various fields you will always hear the role a parent(s)played in shaping their lives and in instilling a love for knowledge.

Animals the world over look after their young and just watching the way a lioness looks after her cubs going out to bring food,showing them how to hunt as they follow her around and finally when they are big enough to go out and look after them selves is amazing.This is just a simple illustration of what education in the animal kingdom is ,about survival.While as human beings we don’t need to show them how to stalk and throttle zebras and gazelles we need to show them how to survive in the world today as it is with all its pitfalls and how to avoid the lure of easy money,drug and alcohol abuse and instilling values and cultivating virtues that will see them succeed.

I would suggest that our education experts take lessons from the best systems in the world and pick a few lessons that we can adopt to fit into our own.Even Uganda is a good case study because we have Kenyan students trooping there in droves, what are the students there learning that our children are not getting with the current curriculum as it is.Do we need to modify content on subjects to make the knowledge being imparted more relevant in today’s society?do we need to scale down on the subjects our children are reading in school ?do we need more subjects that are relevant in today’s world?these are the questions that i hope the concerned parties in the education ministry will be asking themselves as we seek for solutions that will prepare the next generation of Kenyans for the future.

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WHY KENYAN COFFEE NEEDS TO FIND ITS WAY TO CHINA

The Chinese are consuming cup loads of coffee so much so Starbucks is planning to start growing coffee in China.

Kenya today has become a Chinese business hub and we have a lot of our products on our shelves.While i do not qualify to comment on what we could be exporting to China apart for our beautiful wildlife we have the Chinese stamping their authority on all things construction from apartments on Mombasa road to our superhighways to stadiums to our homes .Just talk a walk on biashara street in Nairobi and there is even a shop selling Chinese baby products.

In my opinion this is an opportune moment for the Minister of Agriculture to schedule a meeting with the Chinese ambassador to discuss how this can be mutually beneficial for both sides.Probably we could start paying these contractors working on our roads with bags of coffee thus creating a win win situation on both sides.

BRITISH ROYAL FAMILY AND THEIR LOVE AFFAIR WITH KENYA


Kenya needs to claim bragging rights for playing a very central role in the British Royal family.

In 1952 when Queen Elizabeth then a young bride was on honeymoon she was hurriedly called home to ascend to the throne after the death of her father King George VI.She was then staying at the Tree tops hotel in Nyeri and since then this elevated the status of the hotel and it has been a major attraction site for tourists visiting Mount Kenya.

One generation later,her grandson Prince William announces his engagement today to Catherine Elizabeth Middleton whom he met at University.Beauty of this is that they got engaged while on a private holiday to Kenya.The wedding is set for next year probably around June or July.

It is safe to assume the charming prince popped the question somewhere in our beautiful country and if i was working for the ministry of Tourism,I would go to Lewa Conservancy where the couple were staying and use it for the next tourism campaign.

NB:Image from gossip.whyfame.com

KENYAN CHRISTIANITY-Are we living upto Christs’ ideals?

Kenya is a Christian society so we say and there is no better proof of this than in the proliferation of churches and gospel related shows that are aired on all major channels on Sunday morning.Since i live quite some distance from a church that i would love to attend i get to listen to a lot of preaching and music that is usually played out in this channels.But i prefer the music to the preaching and this is why.

Listening to most preachers they will either be speaking about prosperity,how tithing will guarantee you riches or they sound like motivational speakers telling you about how to better yourself for your next promotion,how to reach your self realization or exorcising demons.Okay i agree that we all need a little of that but having read the Bible back to back and having gone through school when religious education was a must,i remember something along the lines of Jesus telling his disciples that the greatest commandment was loving the Lord your God with all your heart,soul and mind and loving your neighbor as you love yourself.While it is a good thing to encourage the brethren to work hard for their dream house or car ,i do think instilling values on the congregation is more appropriate.But who knows maybe this kind of preaching is boring and we would soon see empty church halls as people are more focused on the material than being better human beings.

It is a sad day when we place material values before respect for my neighbor,empathy or integrity.It is a shame that Christian leaders aren’t exhorting their followers to be better human beings,to treat each other with dignity and to be honest.There is no better way to learn about this than in Parliament where each session begins with a prayer but we have seen our honorable members lying through their teeth when being questioned by fellow legislators.Our politicians can spin lies until it leaves one light headed yet they are the same ones getting converted or seeing the light every other Sunday.

Church has become big business and every one thinks they are the next miracle worker or exorcist out to drive the demons of poverty,infidelity,alcoholism and immorality.With just the right amount of seed you troubles will fly away thanks to the prayers of the next pastor ,no they are no longer called pastors they are bishops now.Sometimes it seems that people have become more interested in suing religion as a crutch,your marriage fails you turn to God,you don’t get a promotion you seek the next pastor to cast out the demons clouding your bosses judgment,you want a husband run to church for prayers.Whatever has happened to personal responsibility for our actions,you maybe lazy thats why you arent getting the promotion,your marriage maybe on the rocks because you spend all the time at work and on Sunday you are in church the whole day.Your children and husband probably have never spent a Sunday with you because you are in the choir and in all church committees.

One of my favorite quotes has to be this one by Mahatma Gandhi “I like your Christ,I do not like your Christians.Your Christians are so unlike your Christ”.I always wonder why this revered man would have said this words,probably he was so disappointed by the actions and lives of the Christians he encountered?It is true we cannot all be perfect but i do believe that every human being is on a constant journey of improving themselves,thats what life is all about.It is by living the ideals Jesus exemplified in his life that we can become better human beings,in treating our neighbors with respect and kindness,in helping out the needy,in avoiding idle gossip and back stabbing,in staying true to your vows and not telling lies.

Some of us have even abdicated personal responsibility for our actions and given them to our spiritual leaders,you want to buy a car,go and talk to your pastor,you want to move house seek your pastors opinion,you want to change jobs,you pastor knows best.While not belittling the role of these spiritual mentors it is important that we have been gifted with free will .St Augustine points a distinctive difference between animals and human beings.Humans can reason animals cannot.We exercise our free wheel when we choose good over evil,when we resist the temptation to follow the herd when we are called to acts of violence.We also use our free will when we refuse to give bribes to secure employment or to demand sexual favors from our juniors in exchange for promotion or good grades.

In conclusion i will give the story of Kamau who seeing the number of promotions of quick money going round decided to try his luck.So he went to church every day during his lunch hour ,on his knees he would beg God to let him win the 10 million cash prize that was being advertised and this went on for three weeks.During the last week when the competition was just about to end ,he was on his knees in church praying and pleading as usual when he heard a booming voice from heaven say go and buy the damn lottery ticket.

DELINQUENCY IN KENYAN SCHOOLS-Are parents to blame?

Discovery world has a wonderful advert on why we keep on discovering new things because if we knew it all,what would there be to discover?But this shouldn’t be the case when it comes to our children.

As a parent i have watched with a heavy heart as news media reported an increase in the number of arson attacks in schools which are perpetuated by students themselves.It is a sad day when what is meant to be a fountain of knowledge turns into a death knell for the future generations of this country.

Having in boarding school myself i must say i had a great time and in primary we had a wonderful headmistress Mrs Njue who was like a mother to the 300 or so students that we were at the time.Listening to the students air their grievances that the school authorities are to blame for the riots is hogwash.It seems to be the students are going to school in order to call the shots instead of listening to their teachers.Kenya also must be the only country in the world where parents gang up with their children to protest against school administration.This has led me to ask where the problem lies is it the principals that are the problem or the way we are raising our children.

Nowadays parents in their quest to provide a better life for their children have left the task to nannies and television.And school holidays are no longer the care free days we knew back then,they have become periods where students are spending what should be a leisurely break from studies to cram in the hope of giving the country the best student at national examinations.While appreciating the fact that examinations cannot be avoided whats is the use of having a highly intelligent individual with no morals or respect for a fellow human being.It seems to me we are breeding little monsters in the name of geniuses in our homes,thats why they feel no remorse when they burn down a school dormitory with their fellow schoolmates inside .

I think for too long,parents have been pushing the blame on school administration but really the behavior we are now seeing on national television is as a result of the lack of discipline at home and a devil may care attitude of the parents.If you carefully watch children at play it is very easy to spot the delinquent ones because they are the one picking up fights with other children as the parents watch.It is very important for a parent to play their part.If you have ever owned a dog or love pets in general it is important to know that love and discipline go hand in hand.Dogs are very good examples of this,if you let them you will have you beloved chihuahua running circles around you,but in order for them to behave any dog trainer will tell you discipline goes hand in hand with affection.Dont try to be your child’s best friend be their parent and they will thank you for it.Draw up the lines of what you expect from them and the consequences of breaking rules and they will not disappoint you.This includes admonishing them for bad behavior,get to know whom they hang out with,be an example to them of what good behavior entails and finally balance that with the affection that we all need as humans.

Kenyan parents if you are reading this,wake up to the noble task that has been handed to you by nature and lets raise up a nation of human beings who care about their neighbor.

TEMPTRESS By Paul Spicer

Lord Erroll’s reputation preceded him among the happy valley crowd.Good looking and a womanizer his exploits were well known.This book by Paul Spicer tells the story of one of his love interests the Countess De Janze,Alice.

While his murder is unsolved to date and the only other person charged with the murder Sir Henry Broughton was acquitted,the book presents an interesting read on a character who played quite a significant role in Lord Errols life.
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OK,i am not going to spoil the end….get a copy