Schools exam ranking not healthy

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BY PHILIP SAMBU

Moments after Education Minister Sam Ongeri released the 2010 Kenya Certificate of Secondary Education (KCSE) results on Monday, live images of high school students singing victory songs filled our television screens.

Congratulations to all the students who endured the gruelling four years of hard work and a brutal curriculum to post impressive results despite intense competition.

It’s in order for schools to bask in the glory of their former charges but I believe the current system where the Kenya National Examination Council (KNEC) ranks schools in terms of average performances is to the detriment of not so \’academically gifted\’ students.

Stories abound of how some schools force students to repeat classes or even worse refuse to register them for national examinations if they are deemed capable of chipping away the institution\’s chances of clinching a top position once March comes round.

Some parents have to deal with the ignominy of registering their children for examinations in different schools to the one they spent the formative years in.

Concern, though justified, over the poor performance of certain educational powerhouses has also been raised though many schools across the nation would go to great lengths to achieve the position the institution holds.

National prestige has been become part of the fabric of educating Kenya\’s future generations as boosting the individual performance of weak students takes a back seat.

Ranking of individual students also adds unnecessary pressure not only on candidates but on every school going child who has to deal with emulating their predecessors whose images are splashed online and on the front of newspapers the day after the results are released.

I\’m the product of a foreign system of education where no one cared what number you were, your results weren\’t pinned up on a board for everyone to look at and students who were expelled or suspended for one reason or another were allowed to come back and sit their exams.

What mattered in the end was that kids were given a chance to prove their worth no matter how they performed throughout their high school career.

The last time I checked, universities and employers are not bothered with which school one came from or whether you were carried shoulder high by fellow students on prime time news.

In the end, everyone is judged by their individual capacity and how they can contribute to the building of the economy.

KNEC should reconsider abolishing school rankings so that teachers can focus on improving the fortunes of individual students so that each one can get an equal shot of a rewarding future.

Let the intense competition between Mangu and Alliance Boys remain on the rugby pitch.

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