Over the past few weeks, there has been a raging debate about the KCSE results of Mombasa Governor Ali Hassan Joho and to some extent those of Nairobi Senator, Mike Sonko. Joho and Sonko scored D- and C- respectively in their KCSE exams. These grades cannot be described as exemplary yet the men behind them are two of the most notable leaders in Kenya’s political scene. How did they rise beyond their dismal KCSE performance? Do all the “A ” students become successful in life? What about those who fail in school? Do they go on to fail later in life too?
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It is wired in the minds of many people that the purpose of education is to get a well-paying job. Employers have cemented this position by continually insisting on good grades as a prerequisite for being hired. A lecturer once told me that education is not what you write in the exam room but what remains in your mind after you’ve left the exam room. What should remain are the life skills that one needs to succeed. The number one purpose of education should be to prepare learners to be problem solvers. All the financially successful people who appear annually on Forbes List share one characteristic – they have a habit of turning problems into opportunitiesProblem-solving, therefore, should be education’s truest purpose not just grades.
The definition of school and education should encompass more than books and the four walls of a classroom. After we are armed with certificates from schools, we make the mistake of assuming that, that is all we need to face life. The Kenyan education system is notorious for testing memory instead of imparting life lessons and skills. That explains why many youth cannot make a coin outside the realm of employment. Without their papers, they are nothing.
Whether you scored good or bad grades, the playing field is level for all depending on how you view it. Success demands nothing but zeal and determination. Good grades alone cannot parachute you to your dreams. A non exhaustive list of factors comes into play in determining your future. What connections do you have? Are you creative? How large is your network and how important is it? By all means, strive to score good grades but that is barely enough. Sharpen your skills as if they are all you depend on and not your papers. Let the papers come as a bonus.
This article was written by Capital Campus Correspondent Collins Pasi.