Kenyan teens in quarter life crisis

November 16, 2009 12:00 am

, NAIROBI, Kenya, Nov 16 – The age commonly referred to as the “golden twenties” ought to be the ideal time for a happy, relaxed life.

At this stage, ‘puberty is over with, and mid-life crisis is still far off.’ But instead of being happy and relaxed, a growing number of 20-something-year-olds are facing what specialists call a quarter-life crisis.

The term stands for the identity crisis young people suffer when they are about to finish their education and have to decide what to do with the rest of their life.

Social developments in recent years contribute to anxiety about the future. Additionally, given the large number of job possibilities and lifestyle options available today, some young people fear making the wrong choices. However, decisions are not irrevocable and it is not wrong to make a few detours on the road through life.

This predicament is however not limited just to college and university graduates but it also affects secondary school graduates. The scenario is made even more precarious when high school students do not get to sit their examinations not due to a mistake on their part but as a result of negligence on the part of the school administration.

Anam Omondi was a student at Twilight Secondary School and it was a bitter pill for him to swallow when he learned that he would not be sitting for his KCSE examinations this year.

“The principal told me that our names were missing and said that there was another list which I could not understand,” he said.” When I tried to reason with him, he brushed me off and when we were about to lynch him, our parents came and restrained us.”

Omondi says he and his fellow students had been suspicious of their non-registration for a long time but the school head pulled the wool over their eyes.

According to him, the red flag was raised when the principal went into hiding following demands by parents for him to explain the irregularities.

“We saw the nominal roll but it was unclear whether we were registered or not. The principal then told us to go to the Kenya National Examinations Council offices so that we could follow it up from there,” Mr Omondi recounted.

“He later gave us some index numbers which he said will not be used during the Kenya Certificate of Secondary Examinations.”

Upper Hill High School head Peter Odero however placed the blame squarely on the students and parents for not doing enough to ensure that the candidates were registered.

He pointed out that the time given for registration was sufficient enough to ensure that everyone sat their examinations.

“The process of registration starts in Form Three where we expect that each candidate will be able to bring the KCPE result slip and the certificate which we must have then we forward them to the Kenya National Examination Council,” he said.

“After a while in Form Four, we are given the registration form which we carry out for a whole month.”

He said that the affected candidates should have followed up on the process to ensure that everything goes on smoothly.

“This is a long process and any student who is serious would really realise whether they are registered or not. You cannot wait until the examinations are brought to find out whether you are registered or not,” he admonished.

“This is serious negligence on the part of both the students and parents.”

Nairobi Milimani Secondary School Principal Francis Mbai however censured the Twilight Schools’ administration for not being transparent in the registration process. He said that this should serve as a wakeup call to all students to take an active interest in the processes in the education system

 “I think it is irresponsible on the part of the authorities that are concerned with the registration. It is also unfortunate that the students come to know about it very late,” the Milimani High School Head stated.

“I do not know whether students know that they have to do any follow up but I think for now, every person who registers for exams should check and follow up.”

He is urging students to start checking that they are registered from their schools early enough and if nothing seems to be clear, they can move to the Kenya National Examination Council (KNEC) headquarters.

“They can initiate it from their own centre, just finding out from their own teachers whether they are registered and then if they do not get proper information they can still clarify with the examination council,” he explained.

According to Education Permanent Secretary Karega Mutahi, It is a criminal offence for school heads not to register candidates for their examinations.

He stressed that stern action would be taken against any unscrupulous individual who takes part in such activity to deter anybody from messing up the lives of students.

“Any proprietor who failed to register students and failed to provide proper facilities for the exam cannot be allowed to function in education. We will have to deal with him,” he affirmed.

“For now, we cannot do anything until the exams are out of the way because one of the things you must make sure of is that every Kenyan child has a right to education,” he said.

Indeed, sometimes the power of greed overcomes some of the values ingrained in us and at times, it affects others in a way which might have an adverse effect on their lives.

Therefore, it is in this context that school heads need to take their mandate seriously by ensuring that no one, neither student nor parent has any cause to shed tears due to a lack of coordination in the registration process.


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