26 November 2018

Kenya: Ambira Boys' Lunacy the Shame of Nation

Photo: Screenshot
Screenshot of video of Ambara High School students insulting Education Cabinet Secretary Amina Mohamed and the Cabinet Secretary, Ministry of Interior and Coordination of National Government, Fred Matiang'i.

Two ugly incidents by high school leavers have shocked the nation in the past few days. The first was an online video of evidently intoxicated students of Ambira High School in Siaya County, who publicly declared they had cheated in the ongoing Kenya Certificate of Secondary Education examination and insulted public officers with the foulest of language that depicted a lot of uncouth and insolent youngsters.

Second was an incident in Bomet, where a group of high school leavers were caught preparing for a sex orgy.

On the surface, these two explicitly demonstrate the level of indiscipline and rot in our schools. It is such perverted thinking that explains the runaway cases of strikes; where students resort to violence and chaos to show defiance to organised society.


The case of Ambira was particularly galling as the students had the temerity not just to boast of committing a crime, but record themselves and broadcast it to the world. That is the height of juvenile delinquency; complete disrespect and utter recklessness.

But underneath such lunacy, there are fundamental issues that the society must confront. The first is that the education system is not achieving the desired goal of nurturing upright and morally stable individuals. Tied to this is the rigorous and highly competitive education system and inherent biases that create a siege mentality and elicit a strong detestation from the learners.

We have created a monster in the name of providing education and learners go through it as a routine but without any conviction about its relevance in their lives.


In itself, there is a strong learning point for curriculum developers and implementers as well as policymakers.

We have to revisit the philosophy, conceptualisation and modelling of education to create a system that truly nurtures learners rather than forcing them to cram and regurgitate facts, which make them hate learning altogether.

Quite often, when youngsters misbehave, we hardly reflect and determine the underlying causes.

We have perfected disorder and chaos in all spheres of public life. Politicians are notorious for publicly insulting one another and perceived enemies.


Top public officers are routinely caught stealing or engaging in unethical practices. Parents long ceded their responsibilities.

As we condemn the rogue students, we must also confront the question of indiscipline in society. All the unruly students must be made to understand that there are laws and regulations that govern the society. They must be severely punished to serve as a warning to others. Even so, it is equally crucial that society introspects and determines the values it inculcates in youngsters.

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