WHAT NEXT FOR UNDERPERFORMING PUPILS?

Real Talk

By Jancan Limo

There is no doubt that Kenyans are very philanthropic. Only this week when form one admission was going on, I have seen numerous occasions were Kenyans have teamed up to secure opportunities for the bright but underprivileged students to join the schools that they were lucky to be called. Social media is a breeding ground of kindness as gestures of good wishes are shared across. From the deserts in the up north, through the ranges and mountains of Central, past the Rift Valley all the way to the lakeside and surrounding regions.

Kenyans are supporting their next generation in all ways possible. Leaders are also busy launching scholarships worth millions to bright students. Pupils are smiling all the way as parents shed tears of relief. Thanks to everyone.

So, today, looking at this wave of kindness shared across the social media, I summoned myself for a meeting. The agenda of the meeting with myself was to try to find out answers about all these scholarships and sponsorship going around. I always had a lot of other pending questions but due to their scary nature, I normally avoid talking about it with myself.

The meeting was called to order and the first question was raised. Have I ever been part of those people who are there for others? Have I ever lent my financial aid to whoever deserved it to finance his or her education? Have I ever trusted someone on social media enough to give my contribution? This question left me with a lot of questions than answers but one thing I concluded is that those people who help others are genuinely kind. It takes a lot of courage and sacrifice to offer financial aid bearing in mind the fact that we can never satisfy our own needs. And from that, I genuinely appreciate those guys.

The second question was about those students who are from poor backgrounds and are not bright. What happens to them? I arm myself with an imaginary armour and sail to the imagination. A student from a poor background whose parents can only afford to be alive for their children. They lack food, just like those bright ones claim on TVs and social media, they live in a deplorable state and if lucky to go to school, they go to the neighbouring school which is in a sad state. They are absent most of the time as they are busy looking for food or taking care of their parents or siblings. They give their best and score below 150 marks or even worse below a hundred. This is their dead end. No school fees to proceed. Furthermore, no one is willing to admit them anywhere.

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So, I rush to Google to seek more answers if underperforming in class and examination is a choice. Does genetics affect grades in school? I get about 68,600,000 results in 0.76 seconds. The first one says, ‘Genes can have up to 80% influence on students’ academic performance.’ I wish not to proceed from there but I am building an opinion in my head. For some students, it is not by choice that they don’t perform very well.

The scholarships and sponsorships are strictly for bright students from poor backgrounds. Sometimes, it is easy for those kids who are bright and come from well off families to secure scholarships than those from backgrounds in abject poverty and do not perform well. I will describe these scholarships as selective empathy. I can imagine how they feel. Unlucky in every way.

What do we need to do then? For sure we don’t have enough resources to assist everyone. But some of these students need whatever help possible to at least help them cater for their families and siblings. However, since we are not looking at that need, then I suppose that after forcing them to attend poor schools, eating poor diet, clothe in tattered clothes, embarrassing them by being always the last in every exam, frustrating them by offering selective empathy, we rank them and display their names in public, praise those who are better than them and deny them the scholarships and sponsorships. I don’t wish to imagine of the emotional torture that they are subjected to.

The only thing that we can do, therefore, is to kill them. Since we don’t need them. It is evident from our actions. We should then ensure that all of them are in the graves resting in peace rather than being subjected to public ridicule. These are the people we always suspect of being thieves, loiterers, accuse them of being dirty and having bad manners. We are quick to wrap them in the tyres and burn them when they seek solace in theft.

I thought at least the person who needs help the most is the one who is struggling with poor grades. But we have done the opposite. We support those who are at a better position to help themselves and kill whatever glimpse of hope that was existing on the people who needed us the most.

I believe it is high time that we stop social media PR and antics and concentrate on making quality education accessible for everyone. We should never allow the squandering of potentials of our children to happen again. Not in this century. It might not ring a bell to you because it may not affect you at your office, since you are not a teacher or a parent. I promise you one day you will face the consequence of neglecting the poor who are not bright. We better act and do so now.

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