On that Wednesday, 18th March 2020, we closed the doors of the classes and locked the gates of the school behind us. Unknown to us, there was no coming back to school any soon. And even for the future that was waiting ahead, we did not know how to cope with it, or did we?
School is depressing us, right? Classes are super not interesting and wow, so many things are depressing us as comrades at home. Am certain that comrades are not so well financially. We can feel this huge burden on top of our shoulders that, we are almost collapsing. How comes that even education, the thing that we have always wanted to have in life, is messing up with us?
How did we get here to start with?
I hate to be the bearer of bad news but I will presume we are all victims of a system we are not comfortable with. When I say the system, I am talking about laws, leaders, culture, and the complex operation of stuff. Of course, I utterly apologize to those who are really having authentic fun with online classes and for that reason, ‘all of us’ categorically refers to Mso in Kangima, Oduor in Kakamega, Wanyonyi in Busia, Nasir in Garrisa, and Shanice in Buruburu. And of course, Abdi Salam who is in charge of their small kiosk at Watamu.
Did I leave out someone else? Oh, and Tony who is now selling potatoes and carrots with his mother and other village women along Nairobi-Karatina highway. I am speaking for comrades who, even with all other factors notwithstanding, have no idea what they are doing with online classes and cats. Wait, do you even know how many units you have and how many are you at per? Sorry.
This is pretty bad news but it’s all I got. And the bad news is often full of hurts in the hearts and worse still, for those who don’t get it, the bad news is full of complaints. Over time, I have discovered that hurting and complaints are a good recipe for pain. And pain is the catalyst for change.
Comrades are depressed. How did I know? Call them and ask them how good they are prepared for the cats. They will not drunkenly tell you to fuck off, at least being at home somehow has kept them sober, but they will sign desperately. Comrades are attending classes because they have configured data bundles and because there is an attendance list that they need to scribble their names on.
Legend comrades are joining online classes on one device and hustle bustle on another device far away from the boring classes. Comrades are tired of online cats and classes. How do I know? Well, I guess that is their little secret but you can always enjoy it if you are a comrade. Comrades are afraid of having online exams. Comrades are not fine. I know it is okay not to be fine but this time, it’s not okay not to be fine. If that makes sense in the first place.
It makes me wonder, why? Why are we so mad and angry all the time we have online classes and cats going on? Why do we cheer up cheating and love the teachers who don’t care about cheating on exams? Is it because comrades are lazy in school-related matters and good at stoning? Is it because we are not good enough for the programs that we are afraid of failing in the exams? Or is it that the systems are messed up and our institutions don’t care about us?
Take Dekut for example. Is anyone in the administration evaluating the quality of education the comrades are getting at this moment? Good question. Right? Or is the administration demanding lecturers to keep teaching comrades because Dekut lecturers must be unique and different from other lecturers in other universities? I guess the real question here is, is it about the school, or is it about comrades?
We, the comrades who took up the programs during their admissions are the primary factors in the equation of education. Comrades are the school. There is no school without comrades. There are no classes and learning without comrades. But even so, comrades have not yet answered the real question here, are we learning? Or are we virtually learning, passing time, and waiting for whatever comes may.
You see after we indefinitely closed schools, we never knew what was coming for us. We knew something was coming but we were never sure how easy or difficult things were going to be. We wanted to be safe from the virus, our folks and loved ones to be safe. We thought we had found ourselves a holiday. But not so soon, comrades.
Since decent people don’t stay idling around, sleeping on their backs, we started online classes. A few comrades were in for the idea but most of them did not want to have online learning. Why? Because some of them wanted a break from the madness of schooling, others wanted to have a vacation, others wanted to support their families to survive the pandemic. Mostly, all comrades wanted the best for themselves, for their families. Do comrades always know what is best for them? Or does the ministry, the school, and leaders choose what is best for comrades?
And now here we are. Stuck. Wondering if three months of online classes have made a difference in our lives. Or we have just been actively idling around with our phones and laptops, listening to everything from the gadgets but getting nothing into the brain. As the end of May-August approaches, there is still this question we haven’t asked or answered yet, are there going to be online exams? Some comrades have two main exams pending. I bet there are more worried about how they will take it all should online exams happen.
I want to believe that we all want to become good economists, nurses, scientists, engineers, lecturers, name them. I want to believe that all of us, comrades, are the people in the best positions to make our lives better, to make Kenya a better place for us, our folks, and even the future generations better.
Or are you not tired of corruption, poor leadership, underdevelopment, food insecurity, embezzlement of funds, poor infrastructure, injustices, and all ad things happening around? Are you not tired of hiding behind that little I-don’t-care attitude? Are you not sick of being introverted when it comes to matters that you think-only think-that you cannot change? You can change the way things work. But for you to make the change, you need the other comrades. And needing each other is sometimes painful. More painful when the systems are in the lead and need.
Reality is, and you can stone me if this is not your reality, comrades are only surviving. People are just making memes and laughing it all because of happiness f**** matters. Comrades don’t care about their careers anymore. They are throwing a middle finger to online classes. They are finding ways to cheat on exams and cats because they only want to survive what the systems offer. They are not afraid of becoming nurses who cannot nurse people or engineers who cannot design a car or computer gigs who cannot create a VPN. Comrades want to pass the exam because it is the only thing the systems is making them focus on. Or does the system care about the people its producing?
But what does the system want? What do lecturers want? To talk to comrades who are don’t have a say and are at the edge of giving up? What does the registrar, the V.C, the admin want? To have their school pinned and starred in newspapers for conducting successful online learning while comrades don’t have an idea of what they are doing? Or do they want the best for comrades, for kids, for the future, for Kenya, for the world? Does Dekut chase after a good reputation or a reputable quality of its education and graduates?
What about comrades? What do they want? A person well-dressed on a graduation gown but naked of education? Names and titles but empty of a profession? No. I am sure we all want something better for us and everyone. So, what should we do? Or, what are you going to do?
After a clean history of disunity, it is time to make a change. To amend the ways that have led us into this academic depression. Comrades have the best minds, minds that can think about not only the fate of our education but the fate of our children’s education. Minds that can work out their way out to learn without having the burden on them. Comrades have an undying flame to connect with the admins, to change the systems by having them listen.
But until comrades stop acting like its all good, then they are going to keep surviving that which they should not be. If we are going to hide behind the shields of fear, then we are going to be dwarf economists, engineers, nurses. If we are not going to give a fuck about the way these systems are depressing us, then Mso in Kangema will keep missing classes because she got to sell sweet potatoes for her family, Wanyonyi will keep missing school because KPLC will not stop messing with electricity supply in his village, Shanice will never stop cheating in exams because that, that is the only thing she is expected of not to.
What comrades don’t care about other comrades? What administrations don’t care about not only their lives but also the lives of those they administer? What leader throws fingers to Jamar from Garrisa because he has nine siblings to look after because their dad laid his life in Somalia and the mother got locked in Eastleigh? Is that what we want? No? Then comrades should stand up for their truth, their side of the story.
Wait, who am I even telling? I should stop making noise, right? Okay, cool, before I disappear, I realize I have not made sense or given an alternative for the stressful academic life comrades have. But I know one thing for sure, it doesn’t always have to be about the whole world.
It starts at your circle. Make a difference at your household that will change archaic things even if it causes pain. After all, change was never easy, was it? Do you love music? Forget about whatever else for a bit and do that music. Are you a developer? Why are you wasting time reading through this, go make websites that will better lives? Of course, thank you for reading this.
Guys… Check out for your fellow comrades. Comrades miss each other. Having each other at the sports club was their life. Watching matches at the comrade center was everything they had. And that was deprived of them and online classes introduced. Comrades, be there for each other even beyond school.
I have stopped throwing tantrums now. I can spend forever talking about unity. I bet unity died and buried beneath an unmarked grave. I have stopped barking. Let us keep sitting and watching this system churn us like a ball of vegetables. Or, we can wake up and churn the systems for the better like the comrades we are. As the humans we are; the change-makers.