A keen follower of this column may have wondered why I did not pay much attention to the release of national examination results. Usually after the examination council has announced the results from a previous year’s sitting, I take time to say something about the general performance but not this time.
It is not that I was not interested but I must say I was literally turned off by the extreme media coverage that this single event often gets. And to make matters worse, in the space of a few days, results in Rwanda, Uganda and Kenya were released. So, almost everywhere you looked you would be flooded by the now ubiquitous success stories of the top performers.
Newspapers in this region make very huge sales each time results are released and this explains the extended indulgence on this topic. The electronic media too, does dwell on this for long. During the examination results bonanza, a Kenyan TV station decided to interview Prime Minister Raila Odinga after his former school was the best in the Kenya Certificate of Secondary Education.
During the short interview he was asked about his time at the school but my ears left with his last words on what, according to him, are the important things for a student to note if academic success is to be achieved. According to PM Odinga, anyone who wishes to do well at school ought to observe the three key things explained below.
Work hard: Students need to be told daily that nothing much can be achieved in this life without hard work. You should not for a moment, forget why you (the student) are in school. Make time to read your books regularly and intensively.
Dodging class and indulging in anti-social behaviour will only make a student’s life hard and this is reflected at the end of the term when their performance is shameful. Time wasted can never be regained so use your time very well. Do the right thing at the right time and in the right place.
Obey your teachers: This second point addresses discipline. In many schools across the country, discipline levels are very low and this is something that kills the success prospects of many students.
Peer pressure, adolescence and lack of role models among others are the reasons that often keep students on the wrong side of the school rules and regulations. Teachers often face the brunt of unruly students who are quick to disrespect teachers with the, What-will-you-do attitude.
Many students I know have lived to regret not having listened to what their teachers had to say. I once met one in the city centre and he told me frankly, “Teacher, you always said things were tough outside school, indeed they are.” What he was not saying is that he had spent most of his time in school being a pain to teachers.
Respect your parents: When we were younger, we were often told that parents are God’s representatives on earth and that we should listen to them always. Unfortunately, most children’s minds are by default made to be rebellious. It is common to hear youths talking about how their parents ‘don’t know things.’
According to many youngsters, parents are just old fashioned and protective people whose advice is outdated and not up to date. What children forget is that parents love them and have gone through most of what they are now going through.
Those who often ignore the words of their parents often return with tears after cases of unwanted pregnancies, failure in exams and also failure in life thereafter. Listen to your parent and take heed of what he/she has to say. Respecting your parents should not even be a choice if they are indeed looking after you.