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Thursday, March 8, 2012

My Take on KCSE Result Nullifications

Garissa's efforts to establish unchanging premise when it comes to our failures is tainted by the insoluble contradiction of facts. The cancellation of KCSE results for a staggering 90% of Garissa schools can not be dismissed as just discrimination. I think boiling down a complex story as this with a lot nuances to a simplistic narrative that puts the blame for some of our failures on others is myopic and counterproductive.

This is a moment for deep soul searching for all of us who care about the academic success of Garissa. We can no longer afford to resist introspection as suspect indulgence.

Cheating in national exams happens in every part of Kenya. It's not any more common in Garissa than in other part of this nation. However, what is most common in Garissa is dumb cheating. Students copying someone else's work verbatim or walking into exam rooms with prepared notes or cell phones. And even sometimes, students buying the co-operation of invigilators who in the end double cross them by banking their money and reporting their malfeasance to authorities.

There might have been many good students who had their exams unfairly cancelled and those deserve redress. I'm not trying to belittle their grievances or parse over a history of discriminatory policies from the central government that has targeted Somalis disproportionately.

That said, there will never be change until we diagnose the underlying circumstances that permit some of these egregious faults to happen. Some of it comes as a result of our own failures. We're entangled in a vicious cycle of poverty, illiteracy and disease. We always buy into conspiracy theories that shift the blame to others.

For as long as Somalis put little value on academic success and hard work, we'll never see change. For as long as we see things through the lens of clanism, we'll have a repeat of this annually. And for as long as we don't stand up for what is just and fight for it, we'll be trampled on.

I stand by those students who took to the streets to protest peacefully. It's time for Somalis to wake up. However, looting the shops of fellow Somalis is immoral and wrong. Halting trade and bringing the issue to the forefront in the national media is fair as long as its done peacefully.

Threatening to join foreign militias will not get you an A. Going back to school, working hard and choosing good leaders will get you success in both worlds.