TEACHER'S MIND : Schooling is more than just exams

OVER the last two weeks, education related stories have been part of the headlines in most Ugandan and Kenyan newspapers. This is because the release of examination results is often over hyped in media headlines. In Kenya the controversy concerning the new grading system was the main issue. In Uganda the rather huge rise in students scoring quadruple ‘A’s has led to a debate on whether students today are really smarter than those of yesterday.  

OVER the last two weeks, education related stories have been part of the headlines in most Ugandan and Kenyan newspapers. This is because the release of examination results is often over hyped in media headlines.   

In Kenya the controversy concerning the new grading system was the main issue. In Uganda the rather huge rise in students scoring quadruple ‘A’s has led to a debate on whether students today are really smarter than those of yesterday.  

What all the above stories prove is that most people see success in education only in terms of passing exams. This is a very wrong perception that needs to be nipped in the bud. There is more to school than sitting examinations at the end of the year or term.  

Two Sundays ago, I strolled into a school and noticed that many students had gathered in the afternoon to watch a football match between S.6 and S.2 students. One of the interesting things I noted about the game was that the school’s public address system was being used to ‘air’ a live commentary of the football match! 

The commentators (students) knew all the players on the pitch and even gave their audience more information about the players. A commentator would mention a player’s name, his class, the position he plays on the team and also when the person joined the school.

This was in the same way the radio commentators gave information during the English Premier League.

With music being played in the background, the whole spectacle was simply more than a football match.

Besides the football skills being displayed on the pitch, off it, some students were busy honing their radio journalist skills.  

Some of these students may not prosper academically, but may go on to become great footballers, football commentators and the school will be proud to have produced such public personalities.

One of the reasons as to why the USA has remained a top contender in the game of basketball can be attributed to the good media coverage that is given to college basketball. This in turn motivates students to do their best on the basketball court since the world out there is indeed watching them.  

Students should have memories that go beyond exams. The school’s alumni greats should include all those who excelled at anything not just passing examinations.  

When I look back at my school days, I do recall some of my classmates who put in a lot of effort in sports. These fellows went on to become bigger newsmakers than those who passed exams and thus made our school proud.

A former classmate of mine called Kenneth Kamyuka, went on to become one of Uganda’s most talented cricket players with a professional career that has seen him featuring in South African, English and now Canadian top flight teams.  

Recently a former student of mine (Sebahire Sévérain) who was more known for his music talents than class work invited me to his place of work. I cannot explain how proud I was just watching him calling musicians to order! The boy is now a music producer.  

The media should therefore not only give coverage to those students who excel in examinations. The spotlight in schools ought to be spread out to cover such raw talents that need to be supported.

ssenyonga@gmail.com

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