In Primary School I had three text books.

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    Nyongesa Sande

    In Primary School I had three text books. One for maths, one for English and one for General Subjects (Science, History and Geography). All fit into my small khaki school bag with room for my PE Kit, a lunch box and stones to round off a good boys fight.
    School started at 8 AM and went on upto 3:30 PM with a one hour lunch break at 12:30 PM, except for Standard 1-3 who left at 12:30 PM. At the end of Standard 7, we did a final multiple choice CPE Exam and a written English composition paper.
    At Secondary O-level (Form 1 to 4) – in an acclaimed Government boarding school – classes started at 7 AM and ended at 1 PM. Prep classes for homework and revision were between 7:30 PM and 9 PM, with candidates allowed an optional extension time upto 11 PM, otherwise it was lights-off at 9:30 PM.
    We narrowed down to seven to nine subjects at Form 3, of which only the best six counted for the final KCE grade at the end of Form 4. At this level students were fully prepared for white or blue collar employment.
    At A-level in form 5 and 6 we did three to four subjects plus the mandatory spurious General Paper.
    Tutions, even during school holidays, were very rare.
    On completion of A-levels students were fully prepared for undergraduate or college studies and even commencement of employment.
    Nowadays I see school busses picking up nursery school kids as early as 5 AM to return them at 3:30 PM. Their school bags are laden with kilos of books enough to render them susceptible to spinal injury. (Publishing of ‘Set Text books’ is a sure ticket to the millionaire club).
    I have never understood the 8-4-4 System – maybe I’m gentrified – but it seems burdensome beyond reason. Even that I’m told is old-school with the launch of the recent controversial CBC, whatever that is.
    Nauliza. Jee, huu ni ungwanaa?
    Kirathe Ndegwa

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