Schooling Life And Other Fiery Tales

The year is 2018 in Kenya, some 50 plus years after fiercely seeking independence from the British royal family and other oppressors. And we are just beginning to realize the glaring flaws in our school systems.

Following the heavy criticism of the 8-4-4 system for its apparent mechanical and results oriented nature that was introduced by the then President Moi in 1985, the end of that era looms closer. The new curriculum, whose implementation roll-out is ongoing, is developed to replace the discredited 8-4-4 system. How well it will be executed is still up in the air.

A  major part of why it has taken so ridiculously long to get this conversation rolling is because the who’s who that’s supposed to notice and right these defects for the better, opted for the private and international schooling way of life for their kin. And by so doing grew blissfully ignorant of the rot that has continually manifested in the vast public school system.

Year in and year out, school fires have become ever so rampant in as many boarding schools. So much so that it is bordering normalization. Cases of rape and sodomy among the students in schools is at an all time high with some staff shockingly being in on it, and even trying to bribe the affected with promises of bursaries and scholarships. The laxity and nonchalance with which these cases are treated by even the media that’s supposed to be the gatekeepers is astoundingly vexing. I am reminded of a Malcolm X quote; If you’re not careful, the newspapers will have you hating the people who are being oppressed, and loving the people who are doing the oppressing.

But predictably in 2018’s unconventional Kenya where most consumed products are flagged off in-spite having a variety of elements existent on the periodic table, the question isn’t what is troubling these kids to the point of burning down their schools every other school term. Nor do we seek to rehabilitate said problematic kids. No, the solution is threateningly punitive because these ‘millennials have no sense’ according to the older generation. Never mind that the youth and minors have taken to the streets to protest education failure, for which they were profiled and criminalized in a bid to try and vanquish their ‘reluctance’ because ‘how dare these millennials speak out their minds’.

This is in no way to bash any respectable stakeholders and shareholders (because I am trying to live long and healthy)


However at the cost of sounding anti-establishment, our ancestors did say call a spade a spade and not a big spoon. In typical slap-on-a-band-aid fashion, the Cabinet Secretary Honorable Amina Mohammed has gone on to decree that on top of the kids found participating in arson (I use the term albeit loosely) having a criminal record for life at the tender age of 14/15 and a nasty Leaving Certificate, they will additionally not be allowed into universities to further their studies. While I am in no way condoning burning schools, surely this punitive measure is taking it a little too far?

Being a product of a boarding school myself, I can boldly attest that over half of the student population in my particular school had at-least dreamed of burning down the school once a week. In between eating paraffin-filled githeri, being whipped and beaten like snakes on a regular, scrubbing walls, pavements and grass, cultivating land, building entire complexes and simply surviving for four years, my hormonal teenage self definitely fantasized about doing some physical damage. I was just so cowardly with no guts but had the opportunity been presented to me, I would have absolutely been a willing and prompt recruit for the blaze of glory.


I think possibly scrapping off the boarding schools entirely(which is a mzungu thing anyway) should be heavily pondered over. Their cons are quickly outweighing the perceived pros.

Conversations concerning education reforms should actively involve the very students they seek to mold. Unfortunately that is not the case as they are not treated as the major stakeholders they are. The teachers are also increasingly seemingly demotivated if the bi-annual teachers’ strike is anything to go by.

It just seems that the government of Kenya is deliberately frustrating the young ones instead of fixing the issue. This is condemning children who mark you, don’t know any better, to a life of crime and other devices because how else will they get into employment or own/be anything. This is a revolution in the making because once the youth become so hardened and chiseled they will rise against the capitalists who are stifling them.

The Mau Mau did not go to blows with the colonizers for this monkey business.




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