School ranking “the mean score menace” has given rise to unhealthy competition sparked by the growing number of private schools that seek to attract clientele in form of students/ pupils from an audience that is hungry for the best performing schools.
Society has therefore deemed it imperative to perform extraordinarily to achieve this goal. Public schools on the other hand seek to maintain recognition as the best performing schools in the country while school heads seek to stay relevant and pamper their egos to make headlines as the school head producing top students and best performance in the country.
Parents are attracted by the best performing schools with the notion that their children, being in these schools will equally perform as those in previous years did and also maintain status quo. Some go to the extent of buying admission letters for their children in these ‘best’ schools, regardless of their performance, which often leaves less fortunate children stranded leading to an increased number of missed opportunities.
The push for performance has also given rise to cases of exam cheating where parents unfortunately contribute greatly by sneaking “exam leakage” to their children among other vices.
In earlier years, up to about mid-2000s, the performance craze had not yet hit the education sector, thus students performed and passed by merit.
Provincial schools offered quality education at an affordable fee and still managed to produce a good number of quality university standard student masses.
Unfortunately, this has been polarized by the wave by parents wanting their children to join national schools, mounting pressure on government to transform more schools to national schools.
As a result, polytechnics, technical institutions and collages have been turned into universities to accommodate the mass of “high performance” from the high schools to join universities regardless of the quality of degrees offered.
The value of a degree has consequently been watered down since the quantity of degree holders has overshadowed the quality offered by the degree holders as they can barely perform in the work environment.
Further, this has given rise to high unemployment rates in the country as these candidates are not cut-out for the degrees they hold.
Education Cabinet Secretary, Dr Fred Matiang’i made headlines and became a household name resulting from the media attention he attracted over the past few months for his no-nonsense approach to curb the vices and weed out the rot in the education sector.
His move to streamline this sector is a step in the right direction as this will see an improvement to the quality of education and degrees produced in the country.
In turn, the country can only hope for an improved quality of workforce by restoring education and the quality of degrees to its past glory. His main goal is to have most graduates leave university with work appointment letters. Whichever way this goes, Dr Matiang’i is definitely the man to watch in 2017.