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The Reality Facing High Schoolers

The culture of razing down buildings or structures to express anger and dissatisfaction by learners in institutions isn’t a new phenomenon; way from universities and colleges and even primary schools.
Coming strange however, is the new wave of arson in high schools mostly targeting dormitories. An unfortunate trend that dominated the media headlines for the better part of the second term of the academic calendar that saw over 100 schools affected. This came as a greeting to the radical measures put in place to sanitize the education sector dogged with mass examination irregularity cases.
That these weird happenings are connected to examinations is of no doubt judging from the defensive stances adopted by teacher’s representatives, the seemingly coordinated incidences and some reported confessions by some students.
Teachers, the enlightened custodians of moral discipline and direction all of a sudden acted clueless on solutions to this and all went for the lame option calling for the indefinite closure of schools countrywide; something that points a finger of guilt as it would inevitably affect the scheduled examinations.
One wonders then, is there a silent hand by some teachers in this? Do the reported rumors by some students that their teachers having failed to deliver the usual exam papers, in desperation, gave them the go head to raze down their dormitories get some credit?
Not rushing to conclude on whichever cause the fires were meant to serve or whoever was playing a hand in it but not dismissing its connection with the national examinations, reality is already dawning on parents, teachers and especially students that the new regulations recently introduced are there to stay.
The government seems determined to seal the route that left it with an egg on its face after an unprecedented leakage of examinations that saw due papers find their way and got aired on national newsrooms and the same papers being offered to students the next day. The determination to correct on that failure saw the replacement of the entire examination body’s board then followed the radical rules.
Stiff resistance followed but an unexpected turn of events seemed to have hardened the Education Ministry’s stand with the sympathy and endorsement by some notable civil society groups and religious leaders. The public pressure to have the Education Cabinet Secretary resign fizzled out with time and he now seems more determined than ever to end the cheating menace at the ire of the cartels involved.
As if not enough, the new examinations board has a new face at the helm. The thick skinned Professor of Surgery from the University of Nairobi in an old timer who reigned on the worst of hooligan characters for ten years while the Vice Chancellor of the institution.
It therefore seems a dry joke to imagine that a dormitory fie would change Prof. G. Magoha’s resolve to deliver on his new position.
How unlucky students seem to be. With no sign of relaxation in the radical rules introduced and more sadly, proposals being flouted on reintroduction of corporal punishment to reign on their out of hand behavior and lack of discipline that has been blamed on too much freedom.
To worsen matters, though school accounts run into millions, it is already clear that the school heads are determined to push the cost of repair and arson damages to the poor parents. No student would have bargained for such a raw deal.
All seems to be coming back to students, some of whom never participated in the arson incidences and some of whom might have taken part driven by external forces.
From cheating free examinations, possibility of reintroduction of corporal punishment, the guilt and blame of adding to their already burdened parents and guardians damage costs and losing of trust in the public eye, high school students are clearly the losers in this wild game that spun the whole country into a state of mad suspense.
Some would call it betrayal, others miscalculation but either way it is clear high school students have lost unopposed.



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