By Victor Ochieng’

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Dear reader(s), permit me to begin with a simple story I read in a book titled You Can Win by Shiv Khera. A certain Indian sage was teaching his disciples the art of archery. He perched a wooden bird on a twig as the target, then asked them to aim at the eye of the bird.

The first disciple was asked to describe what he saw. He said in substance, “I see the trees, the branches, the leaves, the sky, the bird and its eyes.” The sagacious sage asked this disciple to shoot the eye of the bird. When he did it, he missed it. Then, the sage asked the second disciple the same question, and he replied, “I only see the eye of the bird.” The sage said, “Very good, then shoot.” The arrow went straight and hit the eye of the bird.

What is moral of this anecdote? In life, in every sphere, it is important to have a set target. Know the main aim. Target it. Hit it. As you cruise the car of life, fix your mortal eyes on the target. Focus on the donut, not upon the hole. You should have a laser-like focus, picture-perfect precision and clock-like accuracy. With a set target, you can touch your dreams. That is, if you choose to remain firmly focused.

Apostle Paul of Tarsus writes in Philippians 3:13-14: “Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.”

In the whole scheme of things, you should avoid sideshows at all cost. Never accept to be distracted by trivial things that are not essential. Major on the major, not on the minor. As you do all this, never forget that there is no target difficult to achieve.

In the book titled Masterclass KCSE Blueprint, Paul Wanyonyi explores stupendous strategies that can help students become the KCSE champions they are destined to be. Chapter 17 dotes on the essence of setting smart targets. For that is how schools ravenous for good grades change their dreams to reality.

In that book, I have mentioned, the author contends that academic teams should set school targets and help the caboodle of candidates set individual targets. Targets set by candidates shall be anchored on the Form Three Promotion Exam. The process of Target Setting should be preceded by an in-depth Data Analysis to help concerned parties to point out glaring gaps. This is what will inform action to be taken and activities to be adopted to actualise attainment of set targets.

As part of Best Academic Practices (BAP), school target should be determined by individual targets of students. The release of every exam done in the course of the journey, should be followed by a comprehensive analysis of each student’s target. This will help institutions see and seal gaping gaps. It will help in the formulation of new academic episodes.

At this juncture, in the calendar of secondary schools, it is clear like crystal, as spelt out by the top brass at the Ministry of Education; Form Fours are poised to sit for KCSE in December 2022. It means that schools should strive to come up with smart strategies to help them use the short stint to cover the syllabus, revise and prepare to sit for the final exams. Setting smart targets is one of those things that must be done, or else peak performance will just be a pipe dream, or a wild goose chase.

Moreover, apart from meeting deadlines, these are the types of targets that ought to be set in schools once there is a candidate class: (a) school mean or expected positive deviation, (b) subject means, (c) group discussion targets, (d) number of students to scoop A’s, (e) number of students to feature in the giant list of the top 15 or 100 in the whole country, (f) number of students to matriculate directly into universities, (g) number of students to score quality grades – C+ (plus) and above, (h) recognition target – where does the school want to be ranked nationally, regionally, in the county, or sub-county?

Lastly, as schools become busy like bees setting realistic targets, they should put premium on cutting or reducing the size of the tail as they fatten the head to touch the acme of academic excellence. For if the tail is fat and long, it will dent or affect the whole performance of the school. Using the analogy of a venomous snake, if you want to kill it, you hit the head hard. But if you want to ascertain whether this subtle creature is dead like a dodo, you touch the tail. Now, the tail also happens to be the hub of poison.

The Writer rolls out Academic Improvement Talks. He trains teachers on Effective Management of the Candidate Class.

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