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Are Grades the Sole Determinant for Success in Life?

From the day Kenya Certificate of Secondary School Education (KCSE) results were announced, acres upon acres of media space have been used to discuss top students, top schools, number of A’s, those who qualified to go to university, and the list is endless. I watched a TV station discuss this for a whopping 20 minutes and I asked myself, what of those over 600,000 students not in this bracket? What are they feeling?

Do not get me wrong, I am in no way saying that working hard and getting A’s is a bad thing! What I am opposed to is the glory we put on these few at the detriment of branding the others as “failures.” People are gifted in different ways. Good or bad grades are not the only determinant for success or failure in life.

It is, therefore, high time that the conversation started changing. In the National Conference on Career Guidance that was held late last year, organised by the Career Guidance Institute (CGI) and the Kenya Institute of Curriculum Development, one of the guest speakers from the United States, Dr Trish Hatch, posed the following questions:

What if we moved away from a single test that is supposed to determine one’s future college/career options and embraced self-awareness and self-assessments, career exploration, goal setting and action planning instead? What if we exposed students to as many career options as possible and move away from the ‘known’ limiting careers?

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Also read: Failure Shapes Us in Ways That Success Never Will

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