The recently released KCSE exam results have elicited both positive and negative reactions. On one hand, institutions and students who posted good results are in an exultant mood, and on the other, those who failed to meet their expectations are in a sombre mood.
In the midst of these two extremes, the common swan song of cheating has rented the airwaves again, throwing into disarray the credibility of the results.
Kisii County, whose schools have posted some of the exemplary results, has been the talk of town with netizens peddling claims that the region might have been a beneficiary of illegal nuances during the examination period, and that by the Education CS, hailing from the area, technically supported these nuances.
Surprisingly, the relevant stakeholders have not done the education sector a favour, and come out with the needed conviction to assert the credibility of the just released results.
The claims of cheating are still loud and seem to have captured the attention of every Mwananchi, and now the Senate seems to have taken up a desire to probe the claims. But even with these welcome developments, on introspection, the pertinent questions should be why and how has a school like Nyambaria High School, in Kisii County, for instance, posted consistent and good results lately?
Is it due to structural improvements or change in administration? And what could other relevant stakeholders ape from the institution to inform success or results? How could persons involved in the transformation of the school be tapped for broad spectrum roles?
In essence, the general education sector needs to attempt extracting positives from such experiences and rely on them to chart a solid way forward.
Case Study: Nyambaria High School
Using Nyambaria High School as a case study, the genesis of improvements in performance are traced back to 2017 when there was a change of guard at the helm of the school’s management. The new czar in town at that time, Boaz Owino, who previously oversaw the steady and marked improvement of results at Maranda High School, joined the institution and with his Midas touch, Nyambaria was on the rise and has lately become the talk of town, after recently being upgraded to a national school.
Of course, netizens, as is the norm with the Kenyan society, which always tends to look for the negatives rather than positives, the unfounded claims of involvement in exam irregularities have always been flouted and will carry more clout than the truth. Such claims may not withstand the test of credibility as Mr. Owino has consistently posted good results wherever he has been.
Rather than dwelling on the unfounded claims, an asset such as Mr. Owino needs to be adequately tapped at the wider state or county government level to improve the education sector. His wit, counsel and experience may come in handy for the wider society, having been a proven and tested mettle in two different settings.
The education sector in Kenya undoubtedly needs a re-direction in terms of strategy. The country for a long time has grappled with finding the best possible interventions for one of its key sectors.
From the Free Primary Education programme (FPE) to the redesign of the curriculum hence the adoption of the Competency Based Curriculum (CBC), stakeholders in the education sector have indeed embraced change but have seemingly downplayed the basics. The comforting thing is that despite this being the case, the solution lies within. It is high time the sector taps from its own experienced and skilled assets as a catalyst for its growth.