I was cheated out of coveted KCPE prize

ILLUSTRATION | J. NYAGAH

You all remember when, last year, Jairo visited our school and promised a special award for the teacher whose subject will emerge the best in KCPE.

Jairo is a Nairobi-based lawyer who, has been an aspiring MP for many years. He promised to buy a finger-touch phone that has a website and Bluetooth for the best teacher and a geometrical set for the best student.

As the most digital teacher in Mwisho wa Lami, I never doubted that I would take home the award. For years, my Kiswahili has always posted the highest mean score, and 2012 was not going to be different.

I devised an elaborate plan aimed and ensuring that I finished the syllabus in August, so that I could use third term for revision. But due to unavailable circumstances, I did not complete the syllabus. A few weeks to KCPE, I started using lunchtime for revision after weekend tuition was banned. Looking at the 2012 KCPE Kiswahili paper. Unless there was foul play, the finger-touch phone was mine.

Two Sims

A few weeks ago, Jairo visited our school and presented the phone to the HM. It was a great phone; it had a radio and TV, and could call itself as it could accommodate two Sim cards. I could not wait for the exam results as I knew I would get the phone, and planned to give Fiolina the one I use as it is still new – having been in use for less than two years.

But before the results were announced, I started hearing rumours of some teachers bragging to have already won the phone. I would not have known this had I not met Saphire at Hitler’s last Sunday.

I told him the plans I had for the phone.

“Boss, sahau hiyo simu ya Jairo,” he said. “Iko na wenyewe.

“What do you mean?” I asked. “You think someone will beat me in Kiswahili?”

“Even if you get the highest mean score, you won’t get the phone,” Saphire said. “This is Mwisho wa Lami.”

Saphire then told me he had heard Madam Ruth bragging that she had been assured that she would take the phone. Ruth is Juma’s wife. She taught English.

Although the results were released on Monday, it was not until Wednesday afternoon that the HM brought the results from the DEO’s office. A few colleagues had tried getting the results on SMS but we could not trust these until we received hard copy from KNEC.

The HM was not enthusiastic when he arrived, and instead of bringing the results straight to the staffroom, he locked himself in his office.

“The HM is analysing the results,” Kwame, the deputy, told us when we asked to be shown the results. Later that evening, he pasted the results on the corridor.

Usually, the HM indicates the mean score for every subject but this time, only the overall mean score was indicated. This year we had an overall mean score of 198.9, a great improvement from last year’s 192.1. As other teachers congratulated themselves for the improvement, I was busy adding up the marks to know each subject’s mean score.

Just as expected, Kiswahili had the highest mean score of 46.8, and I could not wait to receive the phone. After seeing the results, we all went back to the staffroom, where I informed all the teachers that the phone would be mine.

“Don’t be in a hurry,” said Kwame. “Wait until he HM gives us the final computations.”

“What final computations are needed and we can all see that I have the highest mean score,” I said. “Your maths has the lowest mean score at 27.8.”
The incensed the Deputy. “You cannot compare maths with Kiswahili,” he retorted. “Actually, the pupils can sit a Kiswahili exam even without going to class.”

“That is analogue thinking,” I replied. “All subjects are equal.”

“Even science?” said Madam Mary. “You cannot compare it with Kiswahili!”

It was only after the entry of the HM to the staffroom that tempers cooled.

“Colleagues,” he said, “as you have seen for yourselves, we have recorded tremendous improvements in the exams, just as we promised ourselves last year.” He started clapping and everyone joined him. “This year we must set a target of a mean score of above 200 marks.”

“Any question?” he asked before he left.

“Mr Headmaster, sir,” Anita began, “there was a phone to be won by the best teacher. Who has taken it?”

“I am still analysing the results and I need some time,” he said.

“I already did that and my mean score is the highest,” I told him.

“Those are just your figures,” said Mr Juma, “Wait for official results on Friday.” On Thursday, the HM stayed in the office from where several teachers kept seeing him. They all came back with different rumours. At one point, Kwame’s maths was the best, at another it was Anita’s science.

It was not until Friday afternoon that the headmaster came to the staffroom to announce the winner. I had thought it was a straightforward affair but when he went into long stories, I suspected I was being rigged out.

We have to look at the difficulty of the subject, the available resources, and whether there was a marked improvement in the subject.”

“Based on those three factors, English was the best subject,” he announced. “The phone will therefore be given to the English teacher.” He never mentioned that it would go to Ruth, his wife.

Declaring the winner

“I do not agree with that methodology,” said Anita. “Science is more difficult than English, my science’s mean score is better than Ruth’s English, yet you are declaring Ruth the winner?”

“That’s just one aspect,” the HM said, “compared to last year, English improved more than science.”

“Mr Headmaster,” I said, “the methodology you are using is very analogue. We agreed that the teacher with the highest mean score wins, I can’t understand why things have changed.”

“My social studies was the most improved subject,” started Tito but the HM cut him short.

“You are a UT and are already complaining? What will you do when you become a real teacher?”

The HM was getting angry. “I have already given the phone to the winner and my decision is final,” he said.

I did not want to pursue the matter further because, even if Ruth did not receive the phone, there were many other teachers I would have to face.

Dejected, I shared my frustrations with Saphire that evening at Hitler’s.

“I told you Mwisho wa Lami has its owners,” he said. “You thought I was lying?”

“What’s the need of promising the best teacher if they already had decided it’s Ruth’s?” I asked. “Why not just give her the phone in advance and tell us to stop wasting our time?”

“Welcome to Mwisho wa Lami,” is all Saphire said.

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