An easy way to nurture achievers

Thursday March 2 2017

Pupils of Hezta School in Satima, Nyandarua County, recite a poem during the schools talent week on October 18, 2016. PHOTO | ANTHONY OMUYA | NATION MEDIA GROUP

Pupils of Hezta School in Satima, Nyandarua County, recite a poem during the schools talent week on October 18, 2016. PHOTO | ANTHONY OMUYA | NATION MEDIA GROUP 

By EDWARD MWASI
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It’s often said that the brain of a child is like clay, which can be easily moulded into whatever form or shape one desires. Therefore, the argument that some children are born geniuses while others are not is simply fallacious.

Ever wondered why, for example, the Chinese and the citizens of the industrialised Western countries often have extremely sharp and focused children with a clear vision of what they want to become later in life?

Children, who at this early stage in their lives, understand their values so well that changing them would take generations?

The answer is the exposure they have as they grow, which then occupies a sizeable portion of their individual psyches.

If the pupils in our schools were introduced to the twin subjects of probability and statistics early, most of the economic challenges that we face today would most probably be unheard of.

Probability and statistics just sound difficult to many of our people because they often encounter them for the first time as adults.

INTRODUCED TO VITAL SUBJECTS

In other countries, children are introduced to these vital subjects at a fairly early stage in their growth and development. Countries such as China embrace these crucial subjects as a way of life.

Regrettably, our own approach as a nation has always been to thrust ourselves into the deep end with minimal preparations to confront the challenges ahead of us. We, for example, expect adults to just start businesses and run them successfully and yet very few of them have the skills required to deal with the attendant risks.

Indeed, many aspire to start and own businesses but because they don’t have the capacity to manage them well, they end up being what some successful business moguls refer to contemptuously as “wantpreneurs”.

Even some of the trainers and scholars of probability and statistics who were introduced to the subject as adults still do not seem to be sure about how to put their knowledge to practical use.

EMERGING SOCIAL TRENDS

This is because the subjects are not entrenched in their systems, and any attempt at implementing any genius idea would just be a needless gamble.

The catchphrase in our country nowadays is about trying “to move from analogue to digital” in our system of doing things, including our various tasks.

Our minds, too, are facing off with new ideas and emerging social trends. Indeed, no right thinking human being today would cling to the ancient ways of doing things and still hope to succeed while confronted with new challenges.

Those still living in the past are bound to be left behind by society. But sometimes, embracing new ideas may be an uphill task for adults, as bad habits usually entrench themselves in most people.

Re-moulding human beings in adulthood usually yields poor results and can be an exercise in futility. Why don’t we, therefore, start the process from early childhood? Why not focus our energies and resources right from childhood to primary and high school and up to university? Our focus where we expect an academically poor child at the primary school level to turn into a genius at university is misplaced.

SHARPEN SKILLS

There is no magic wand that can turn an average performing pupil into a techie at university. That explains why many employers nowadays keep at arm’s length functionally illiterate university graduates.

Let’s strive to sharpen skills and tap into the potential of our sons and daughters when their brains can quickly absorb new ideas. Our transformative agenda as a nation can be taken forward if we make the young generation keen to tinker with new ideas.

Our rallying call of a better future under the Vision 2030 development roadmap would be realised fast if we allowed young people to take the lead. Tribalism and corruption are alien to the young people, especially those imbued with all the positive values from an early age. But it is true that it is also a big challenge raising children in this digital era where bad habits and behaviour are quickly shared among the young innocent minds.

Needless to say, people are not born corrupt but pick up bad habits from their older folks. School textbooks should deliberately be tailored to inculcate positive values and transformational ideas in our children from an early stage. This way, we might not need huge budgets to fight the twin evils of corruption and tribalism that have become endemic in our country today.

Mr Mwasi is the acting CEO of the Kenya Yearbook’s Editorial Board. [email protected]