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An 'E' won't make your future bleak



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There were massive celebrations across the country shortly after the release of the long-awaited 2018 Kenya Certificate of Secondary Education (KCSE) examination results as the top achievers were being feted.

But we have conveniently forgotten that there is a group of students who also sat that particular exam but, for one reason or the other, only managed to score an E grade. The big question is, where do we take the E graders? Is it the end of the road for them? Certainly not!

Again, it is never anyone’s wish — and certainly not for those students who sat the 2018 KCSE exam — to score a D or E grade, more so after spending countless hours working with peers, teachers and parents in preparation for that one standardised exam.

Media houses across the country have been busy sending their journalists to different schools to interview some of the so-called “2018 KCSE best brains”. And this happens every year.

I honestly think that we are being very unfair to these low academic performers; they definitely deserve some level of media attention, just like the top achievers. Let us ask them what their plans are, and what they intend to do to build their future.

It would be good if we can jointly help them to look past their grades and make something meaningful out of their lives. That will be better than just making a mockery of their efforts.

If you are among those who managed a D or E grade, relax. Breathe in and out, and accept that grade, and know that whatever you have scored will not determine the end of your educational life. Don’t give up; you can still get a degree. It will take longer, I assure you, but you can get there.

Over the years, there have been instances where those who score low grades tend to commit suicide, or they are beaten to death by their parents or mocked by society. If you are a candidate who sat the KCSE exam this year and scored a D or E, don’t kill yourself because of that. Your life is more precious than just a common grade. Take it easy.

Again, grade E is not a death sentence in one’s academic or even career life. Just because you scored an E grade you should not consider yourself a failure and your future is definitely not bleak. Scoring an E will, for sure, attract scorn from friends, relatives and even family but do not pay attention to them.

Secondly, be careful also not to listen to the self-defeating thoughts that will crop up in your mind every now and then. Again, relax.

The students who performed dismally in the national exams should never give up at all; rather, they should be inspired and encouraged by people who did poorly in the exam but would do quite well in life.

The great Abraham Lincoln never attended college and received very limited formal education. Yet, he rose to become one of the greatest leaders the world has ever known. He was self-taught and, with that, he became the 16th president of the United States. So with your E grade, you are far above what Lincoln achieved in terms of formal education.

KCSE candidates should never view their final exams as a do-or-die affair. There is still a lot in store for you, no matter what you scored. Whatever your score, be grateful for it. If you have scored an A or B grade, congratulations. And if you only managed a D or E, it’s okay; it’s not the end of the road for you. There is still a lot that you can accomplish with that grade. So, hang in there. Don’t give up.

My advice to you is this; consider enrolling in a middle-level college or other technical institution across the country. With D- or below, I am sure you will secure a place in these colleges and still achieve your dreams.

You can start at the craft level, then proceed to the artisan. With an artisan certificate, you can do a diploma and, with the successful complication of a diploma, enrol for a degree programme and — voila! You may just surprise yourself and become a university graduate!

So, with an E, combined with determination, courage, and support from your sponsors (parents/guardians), your future is still intact and your dream remains valid. Always remember that it does not matter at what level you started; what matters is your focus. Keep your eyes on your goal and never look back.

Somehow, the society has convinced students that their future depends vastly on the grade they score in the KCSE exam. That is far from the truth. Of course, scoring good grades is great, but scoring a D or E is not a death sentence and definitely not the end of the road for the student.

Michael Otieno, a freelance journalist, is a lecturer at Mwangaza College, Nakuru. [email protected]