Beyond grades: Unlocking the true potential of KCSE candidates

In the wake of the 2023 KCSE results, a haunting question lingers: For those who haven’t made the cut, what defines you now that the “grim reaper” of exam results has cast its verdict? Putting the grimness into perspective, to date, more than half of those that sit KCSE score a D+ and below. This static was shared by Cleophas Tirop (then, Head of Kenya Secondary School Heads Association, KESSHA).in 2009. Sadly, some of these “failures” have resorted to suicide-testament to what our education system has been reduced to.

Across Kenya, there exists a palpable air of anticipation and nervous excitement. The culmination of years of hard work, late-night study sessions, and the sacrifice of social activities is encapsulated in the Kenya Certificate of Secondary Education (KCSE) national exams. For many, this moment is perceived as the defining climax of their academic journey—a make-or-break scenario that either opens doors to a brighter future or closes them abruptly.

However, what if we dared to challenge this narrative? What if, instead of viewing KCSE results as the ultimate destination, we saw them as a mere checkpoint on the journey to self-discovery and success? Well, we’ve done this before and, given it’s importance, we do it again, right here. So, share the following with a student you know.

What does an exam grade say about your destiny? Absolutely Nothing!

Dear Student,

You’ve been sold a bill of goods. You’ve been deceived. Your grade does not define you. Yes, I know, your teachers, parents, relatives and all those grown-ups you look up to may have told you otherwise, and I understand why you believe them. They are your support structure. Surely, they know better. In many other aspects they may, but in this one they are wrong. I repeat: your grade does not define you! Today’s post spares a thought for the student who’s receiving his KCSE results today. Share it with any you know….Read more

Passing or failing an exam (even 2023 KCSE results) is an event, not the destination in life

Dear Student,

 You’ve been lied to. The A in school does not stand for Amazing in Life and neither the F, Failure in Life. Further, “We should not worry about the A’s craze — it’s a big industry. Whoever glorifies A’s is a devil that needs to be dealt with. Exam is only worth five per cent of learning —the child needs to be all-round. There are lawyers who cannot speak English or argue…” Now. Take heed. These words are not empty talk from just another ‘analog’ mzee who’s not ‘with it’. No. They are from a surgeon, immediate past Vice-Chancellor of University of Nairobi and former Chairman of Kenya National Examination Council, Prof. George Magoha (now late). Read more.

2023 KCSE Results

Does the education system make the A grade?

Education must be embraced for empowerment, not examination. The certificate, won’t work for you, if you don’t. Employers hire based on knowledge and skills, yet fire based on attitudes.

The tragedy of the education system, is that it has been reduced to be for examination and therefore employment. Schools, parents, employers, teachers, students, and all stakeholders focus their attention on one thing: the exam. More accurately, the results of the exam, like the recently released 2023 KCSE ones. So, students have learned to upload (study) the previous night of the exam, download (regurgitate) the following morning, and then remain empty. Read more.

Get rid of ‘diploma disease’ in pursuit of education

One of the challenges adult learning (corporate training being an example), has, is this: the learner’s frame of mind is set in a form of education that was meant for examination, not implementation. So, notes are discarded after class ends. Some notes are even left in class and others discovered years later, when moving house, stashed on a dusty shelf. After all, there wasn’t going to be a CAT or national examination to test what we learnt, so why bother studying?! Certificates are quickly photocopied to supplement the next job application. And even quicker still,…Read more

Your exam grade does not define you; you do

Dear student,

Your grade is just that-a grade. It’s not an identity. It does not define you. It can, however, refine you.  It’s not the end of the world that you failed KCPE (Kenya Certificate of Primary Education). Peers, parents, relatives, the media, and society at large won’t let you think otherwise. The recent announcement of Form One admissions has not helped matters. Likely you have already been labelled a ‘failure’. So, yes; you have every right to ‘feel bad’. Just know this: it’s something to think about, not dwell upon. Education was meant for empowerment, never examination. You are literate. You can read, write, add and subtract. Further, you can be taught a new skill, and you can always redo KCPE… Read more

Stupidity gets you places in selling

Remain Dumb. Stupidity gets you places in selling. Yes, I know. You’ve been told that speaking intelligently and looking intelligent gets you places. True. And in this, taking selfies, peer driven, Keeping Up With the Kardashians world, it will. But not in selling. To thrive in selling, many times you will be moving against the societal grain. Yes, I know. You have two degrees, one which is from Harvard. You also have a degree in law and read widely. That’s good. Keep it up. In any case, education is meant for empowerment, never examination as is so commonly flaunted. Displaying your intelligence to the buyer is displaying stupidity. Still confused? Then you’re too intelligent. Read more

Conclusion: Beyond 2023 KCSE Results

The Ministry of Education, as the custodian of Kenya’s education system has introduced the Competency-Based Curriculum (CBC). With CBC the Ministry’s efforts to incorporate a broader spectrum of assessments, including practical skills and critical thinking, reflect a commitment to steering the education system away from a narrow focus on exam results, like the recently released 2023 KCSE results. This shift acknowledges that success is multifaceted and cannot be encapsulated in a single set of grades. This narrative eerily echoes that of 8-4-4 when it was being launched. But maybe CBC will unfold differently… maybe.


If you would like to coaching sessions, we can help. In order for us to do so we propose a free consultation meeting or a call. If in agreement please complete the form below and we will get in touch after receiving your details, none of which will be public. Thank you.

Views – 153

About Author

Related posts

Will private schools survive covid-19?

It’s crisis in private schools due to COVID this time. Your business could be next. What would you do if you owned a school? Firstly, it appears private schools are the loudest institutionlikely to take the Nokia route. Nokia (famously renowned for its global mobile ‘phone dominance) collapsed when technology changed. “They missed the importance

Read More

Why most sales people survive and few, thrive

If practice makes perfect, choose carefully what you practice. Iterate. To perform, or utter repeatedly. This term was used by a Head of Sales learner in my class after we’d just completed a sales course recently. It was in reference to repeating the lessons learnt to habit status. Her “iterate” hit the nail much more

Read More
Stay ahead in a rapidly changing world with Lend Me Your Ears. It’s Free! Most sales newsletters offer tips on “What” to do. But, rarely do they provide insight on exactly “How” to do it. Without the “How” newsletters are a waste of time.