A statement from the Cabinet Secretary (CS) for Education Prof George Omore Magoha that students from Wajir will be cheating in the upcoming national examinations angered Wajir leaders who questioned Prof Magoha’s rational of condemning the students before even the examinations began. Angred by the statement, Wajir Governor Mohamed Abdi and County Senator Dr Abdullahi Ali termed Prof Magoha’s statement utterly reckless aimed at legitimising mass failure of the students. These accusations against the CS have merit.
The CS as the top most official of the ministry that will preside over the examinations, their markings and rankings has not shown responsibility in his utterances and his statement will continue to contribute to the manufactured mass failures of students from this region. Every year, many students from NFD are disproportionately condemned to failure where their examination papers are undermarked or cancelled altogether. This has entrenched a deep system of structural violence against students from this region who are as a result of this injustices unable to pursue tertiary or secondary education let alone careers of their choice.
The statement by the CS prepares the ground for a culture that has been perfected by succesive regimes that marginalizes this region in every sphere. Some leaders from the region like to claim that NFD is in a post-margialization era. This is a dangerous supposition as it legitimizes the structural violence of the state against its citizenry. The leaders make this claims so as to escape the wrath of the populace as they have their thieving fingers in the public till. NFD is and has been under sustained attack from the government. The worst form of marginalization is condemning children to substandard learning institutions that lack basic learning facilities and then go onto to claim that many who braved the deliberate denial of the oxygen of knowledge can only excel in their examinations if they cheat.
NFD’s mass failure must be conmdemned by all and leaders must follow up with their political statements of righting this longstanding wrongs. Few months ago, Majority Leader Aden Duale claimed that the mass failures were deliberate and he will ask parliament to form a committee to investigate this anamoly. There is nothing to suggest that he has followed up with his statement.
In practice there is nothing to justify the students mass failure. While there are claims that students from NFD are of above average intellect, there certainly is no prove to justify the mass failure in the examinations. Of note is that when the same students join fellow Kenyans in colleges and other instutitons of higher learning, they excel in their learning. This is an indication that exam failures is a manufactured scheme to keep the region lag behind. This however, has its long term adverse side effects on the country and its progress. When these students who are in all likelihood naturally gifted are denied places in Teaching, medical and other important places because of what is reflected in a Kenya National Examination Council (KNEC) certificate, the nation suffers. We produce substandard teachers, doctors, accountants, architects and all and then end up living in a nation of engineers who cannot invent a toothpick, doctors who cannot diagnose correctly and buildings that collapse and kill.
Choices have consequences. The Education Secretary and all policy makers must desist from the parochial THEM versus US beloved by the mainstream media who only look at their paper sales and politicians with 5 years lifespan. It is an open secret that NFD has been and continues to be under intense structural violence initiated by the colonist and sanctioned by the independence regimes that followed. We all must come together to resolve this annual ritual of mass failures manufactured at KNEC marking centers and stop condemning our children to a life of misery. Government must stop eating its own children or it will end up eating itself.