The recent release of the 2022 Kenya Certificate of Primary Education (KCPE) results by the Education Cabinet Secretary, Ezekiel Machogu, has elicited much joy into the faces of the young minds, but also burst the bubble for others.
Hard work, discipline, hope, good time management, and other pertinent gems in life are now being appreciated by many more than ever before.
The story of Oriki Doubar, as he narrated it during an interview with The Scholar Media Africa, is an epitome of resilience, hope and unequaled hard work.
Doubar sat for his KCPE this year at Mountain View School, a Nairobi-based Primary School.
The gist of the young man’s journey, however, is that though he was facing challenges, especially in his final year, he kept his eyes afar and worked to achieve a somewhat lofty dream.
Preparations and challenges
The effects of Covid-19 took a toll on him, just like it did on millions of other learners, and his academic life post-covid wasn’t anything to bank on, but the hope remained alive.
For the entry exams to class eight, he scored 313 marks, but for the mid-term exams, he garnered a discouraging 287 marks, though he had been previously scoring high grades pre-pandemic.
“At some point, I had lost hope,” he thinks back.
His typically discouraging low marks in class eight significantly lowered his self-esteem and ate away his confidence, attracting his parents’ attention.
“It put me at constant war with my parents and teachers. I did not feel nice about it. I used to walk shoulders down and as if I didn’t want to exist. I tried to make myself unnoticeable,” he recounts.
Though at that time he felt that he could bring no glory to his parents, he appreciates the encouragement from his mum and one of his teachers, which changed everything.
“I realized that I can do it. I opened my eyes to a new perspective that I don’t need to be the best, but I have to do my best, and that I have to take things slowly, taking a step at a time,” Doubar reminisces.
The youngster continued to get revived and soar higher and would achieve encouraging marks.
“At that point, I felt better about my results,” he appreciates.
The graph would sometimes stagger, but a sense of improvement was evident.
In third term, he scored 365 marks and kept on soaring high.
“I was not satisfied, however, because I was improving at a lower rate than before,” he explains.
With determination and hard work being his warrior’s spear, he achieved an encouraging 413 marks during the final exams before KCPE and was ready for the national examinations.
“Finally, when my mum sent the SMS, we were overjoyed to find that I had 406 marks out of 500,” he reminisces.
Doubar says that the healthy competition with his elder brother, Earl Mogoko, has helped him a great deal.
But the support from his family, specifically the parents, was a special forward push, helping him believe in himself, revive his self-esteem and work hard.
Acknowledging their efforts, “I was doing the exam to make my parents and the rest of my family proud,” he says.
The idea of riding on his own success after examinations kept him afloat, spurring him to rise above any snugs on the way, and achieve his goals.
Doubar and his parents had agreed on a target of 432 marks and they all worked in concerted efforts to achieve that, with his parents investing in academic materials for their son and him putting in more effort.
Doubar has always kept his dreams big, and he is now happy that with the excellent marks, he will be able to join his dream school, Alliance Boys’ High School and, there, continue competing with his brother.
The two, he says, have had a healthy competition that has seen them achieve better and better grades all along.
Over time, he has developed a particular interest in solving societal problems, with a great inclination toward criminal cases, disputes and children’s rights.
He agitates for a fair ruling for every culprit and simultaneously embracing of human rights, while solving such cases.
“I would like to become a lawyer,” he says, “so that I can ensure justice is fairly served to everyone with a case.”
The lawyer-to-be advocates for hard work as the way out, backing it up with correct time management and hope.
Raising Doubar’s self-esteem and building him back in confidence took the effort of not only his parents but also of the teachers, specifically teacher Mercy Masinde, who was her second mum at school.
According to his mum, Edinah Kangwana, as parents, they chose to complement each other to benefit their son and help him rise to the academic giant he had been pre-covid.
As a father-figure, Doubar’s dad, Stephen Oriki, is typically strict, aimed at aligning the children to their goals and guiding them.
“He is a very strict father. My mom is soft. My dad ensures that we have all the required learning material in a timely manner,” says Doubar.
He wanted the best for his son and had to get strict with him at times.
Professionally, Mr. Oriki is a banker at NCBA Bank, Kenya.
“My style was the soft one. Most of the times, I spoke to his heart. I reminded him that ‘Doubar, you know you have great potential. You can achieve your dreams, you only need to work hard, very hard.’ I told him nothing comes easy; you have to allow yourself to feel uncomfortable for you to achieve the great future that you aspire in your heart,” she narrates.
Ms. Kangwana is a mentor and coach, with a heart for the young people. She’s also an Award-winning Transformational leader and an immediate former Kisii County Government Executive.
She encouraged her son and helped him to stand confidently and face life with intrinsic motivation.
Teacher Mercy kept a record of all improvements and would use them to help Doubar monitor the progress.
To colleagues and teachers
To classmates, he says, “KCPE is unpredictable. Even if you did not achieve what you wanted, you still have more exams ahead. Lose hope not, but have faith in yourself, working towards your target.”
He appreciates all efforts made by his teachers, adding, “All of them played a part. They were of great help, pushing us until we finally finished the race, and finished it well.”
Doubar particularly appreciates Teacher Mercy, his Kiswahili teacher, who he urges to continue with the excellent work of encouraging pupils, and Nicholas Kibet, his Social Studies teacher, whose lessons were full of enthusiasm and crafted with helpful acronyms to help the learners.
Mountain View School had 136 candidates, from whom a whopping 54 garnered over 400 marks, putting it on the national map.
Being in a boarding primary school, according to Doubar, enables learners to use time wisely and interact with books and teachers. He, however, highlights the need for personal efforts.
“It brings an opportunity, yes, but one must be disciplined on time management,” he notes.
He encourages his classmates and other pupils to remain disciplined, carrying the previous positive mindset and hard work, to high school.
He appreciates the power of teamwork, acknowledging how it helped him score excellent marks.
“He was one of the people who helped me a lot in this journey. We had decided to help each other with the subjects each of us was struggling with,” he says, referring to Alex Mwanyumba, a reliable classmate and teammate, who scored 421 marks.
He equally congratulates Nigel Cikala from Hekima School in Kisumu, a long-time friend who also garnered 421 marks.
No matter the background, Doubar says that with the correct mindset, discipline, and hard work, one can achieve their goals. He stresses the need to have a target and work towards achieving it.
Place of parenting
During the pandemic, Doubar’s parents, to help him and his siblings academically, invested in electronic gadgets to afford the youngsters seamless access to online academic materials on top of the physical books at their disposal.
However, they soon realized the children would spend more time on the gadgets than on any other academic material and had to swing into action and help them out.
“Together we committed to work to achieve the target. We had our part as parents; he also had his part as a candidate. Simply, we adopted coaching and mentorship,” Ms Kangwana explains concerning Doubar’s case.
While every child faces different challenges from their siblings and colleagues, parents find themselves on a dividing line and, at times, may employ similar approaches to solving all children’s issues at their homes.
Each child is unique, however, and amid all other approaches, mentorship stands tall.
“It is the best model because it brings inclusivity and embraces diversity. The approach embraces each child with his/her uniqueness. It also brings the aspect of responsibility and accountability. Breaking down tasks makes the whole issue look easy and achievable,” she says.
Being in a boarding primary school, according to Doubar and her mum, played a crucial role in his success because he could concentrate on his studies while his parents focused on work and other commitments.
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On the plan by Kenya’s Education Ministry to abolish boarding primary schools starting January next year, “I think it needs to be handled in a more participatory way rather than the directory way. All the stakeholders need to be on-boarded to the conversation in order to reach a more inclusive decision,” says Ms. Kangwana.
She advocates for free will between the parents and pupils to choose what they want for themselves and for their children.