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Students need guidance in making crucial life choices

Friday December 6 2019

Immediately after the release of the Kenya Certificate of Primary Education (KCPE) 2019 examination results, Form One selection and placement started.

The outcome revealed that most pupils had selected elite schools like Pangani Girls High School, the two Alliances, Moi Girls, Kenya High, Limuru Girls, Kapsabet Boys, Mang’u and Lenana high schools.

The Cabinet Secretary of Education, Prof George Magoha, commented about this exercise during the annual head teachers’ conference in Mombasa.

It came out clearly that pupils erred at the time they selected their secondary schools of choice.

For instance, some pupils selected three top secondary schools, perhaps due to ignorance or lack of proper guidance. That is why some of them have been admitted to schools they least expected.

PROPER GUIDANCE

When pupils commit such serious goofs, we should not blame them. Instead, we should blame teachers and parents who are supposed to guide them.

In high school, Form Two students do not just select their subjects. They are guided first. Form Four students are also guided before they select their university courses.

As a mentor of high school scholars, any time I offer guidance to Form Four students, I do not tell them that some universities are better than others.

First, we channel our focus on the selection of the course, then search for the university that offers it.

But now, our pupils preparing to transit to high school are in a state of dilemma because their guidance was not properly done.

Now, every girl who sat KCPE 2019 yearns to join Pangani Girls and every boy wants to join Mang’u. There is even a joke that around 10 boys also applied to join Pangani Girls.

THE DRUM MAJOR INSTINCT

How come most of these children just want the elite secondary schools? One could say that they are driven by some unbridled ambition.

Deep within the human soul, as Martin Luther King Jr once preached, there is the desire to lead the parade. He called it the drum major instinct, the desire to lead the queue; the desire to be heard.

However, we should let our boys and girls know that not all of them can fit in the Alliance schools. Getting the highly-coveted chance at Moi Girls is not a true guarantee that a student will pass with flying colours.

We have seen some students who secure chances in elite schools but eventually fail to put in the effort.

Some students even transfer to other schools because they are deluded to think that the problem is always with the schools. They get to the new school, but again find it hard to cope.

I wish somebody would whisper this statement in their ears, that a lizard in Africa cannot be a crocodile in America.

VICTOR OCHIENG, Nairobi