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How Chronic Stress Hinders Good Performance in KCPE and KCSE Examinations


Date Posted: 7/10/2015 2:30:17 PM

Posted By: NeilMwombe  Membership Level: Silver  Total Points: 129

More and more Kenyan children are experiencing higher levels of stress due to the demanding nature of modern lifestyles. Children in urban areas are experiencing chronic stress due to the following factors:
i. Domestic violence
ii. Divorce or blended families
iii. Exposure to violence on screen and computer games
iv. School-work overload
v. Long hours in school, traffic
vi. Over scheduled lifestyles
vii. Lack of adequate exercise
viii. Pressure to perform in exams in school
ix. Corporal punishment

Children in rural Kenya are experiencing chronic stress due to the following factors:
i. Domestic violence
ii. Fatigue due work overload
iii. Lack of adequate food
iv. Lack of adequate clothing and shelter
v. Excessive corporal punishment
vi. Language barrier in learning environments
vii. Lack of adequate learning aids
These are just some of the factors that cause majority of children to be stressed out. However, chronic stress is harmful to the cognitive development of our children. Stress hormones like cortisol trigger mechanisms in the brain that:
i. Hinder the functioning of neurotransmitters involved in the learning and memory formation processes
ii. Damage brain structures involved in meaningful learning and long-term memory formation
iii. Interfere with the functioning of working memory
iv. Interfere with the development of creative and problem-solving skills at advanced age

Chronic stress could be a leading cause for the persistent poor performance of our children in Kenya Primary of Certificate Education (KCPE) and Kenya Secondary School Certificate of Education (KCSE). For decades our children are exposed to excessive stress causers both at home and in school. In the classroom, till now many children undergo corporal punishments for all manner of misdemeanor. At home the case is the same. Over time chronic stress build in our children and they end up producing excessive cortisol over prolonged period of time.

Stress levels at home and in school should be reduced dramatically. Schools and homes should become more of centres of joy rather than fear. Children should learn in environments that are safe, encouraging, positively corrective and motivating. Fear and threats and physical should be

eliminated to improve the performance of our children in national examinations.

Next: 10 Ways Teachers Service Commission can Improve Performance in KCPE and KCSE
Previous: Kenya education system at the crossroads

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