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Examination materials inspection | Coastweek

NAKURU (Xinhua) — Kenya Institute of Curriculum Development (KICD) Chief Executive Officer Julius Jwan (c) inspects some of the examination materials during the first day of the Kenya Certificate of Primary Education (KCPE) in Nakuru,  Oct. 30, 2018. A total of 1.6 million candidates will be sitting for this year’s KCPE exams countrywide. XINHUA PHOTO: FRED MUTUNE
“Best Wishes” Cards Survive Onslaught From E-Messages

NAIROBI (Xinhua) — Ongoing exit exams at Kenyan schools have seen the re-emergence of “best wishes” cards on the streets of Nairobi for sale by hawkers and in supermarkets.

Sellers of the cards have been doing booming business in the last weeks as Kenyans bought them to send to their loved ones sitting the exams, key to entrance to high schools and universities respectively in Kenya.

At a spot on Moi Avenue in Nairobi on Tuesday, two young men shouted in unison the prices of the “success cards” they were selling, which they had spread on a huge mat in bid to attract customers.

“Fifty bob, 300 (Kenyan shillings), 50 bob, 300,” they shouted, indicating that the smaller card was going for an amount equivalent to 0.50 U.S. dollar and the larger one 3 dollars.

A number of people stood at the temporary stall checking out the cards, looking at the decorations and reading the messages in them before buying.

One woman bought three larger cards, put them in a shopping bag and proudly walked away, after getting a discount.

A young man bought one and another two and with a mother and her son buying five smaller cards.

Not far from the duo was another group selling the cards also singing about their prices to attract the attention of pedestrians.

A survey in at least three supermarkets in the central business district showed that all of them had stocked the card, making it evident that the “success cards” have survived the onslaught from electronic messages.

“I sent the card to my niece because I believe it is the only way to show that I really wish her success in her exam,” Caroline Wamalwa, an administrative assistant at a company in Nairobi said.

Wamalwa noted that she still values the cards because they do not only make the experience of wishing the students success memorable, but also noticeable.

“My niece is sitting her Class Eight exam starting Tuesday. I sent her the card on Wednesday last week through her mother.

“By looking at it, the child knows that we really want her to pass exams and she can keep it for many years to come,” she said, adding such a thing cannot happen with electronic text messages.

Moses Wachira, a parent, noted that he sent success cards to his son and nephew because that was the only way they would get the messages.

“They do not have phones through which one can send messages. So the school receives the cards on their behalf and gives them. It is practical,” he said.

But even as the cards show resilience, a good number of Kenyans no longer value them, preferring to send e-messages or make phone calls.

“I stopped buying cards years back because I believe they are old-fashioned. Instead of buying the physical cards, I create one electronically through the many templates online and sent to who I want.

“It is the same thing I do with Christmas messages, wedding anniversary or birth day messa-ges,” said Chris Odhiambo, a banker in Nairobi.

The boom in the use of cards has given boost in the usage of post office, which is charging between 0.50 dollar and 1 dollar to send the cards across the East African nation.

The number of letters posted locally between April and June declined by 10.7 percent to 14.2 million from 16 million in the previous quarter, according to the latest report from the Communication Authority of Kenya.

However, despite the decline, the total number of letters sent during financial year 2017/2018 increased by 9.3 percent to 62.3 million letters, an indication that Kenyans still love letter writing.

Bernard Mwaso, a consultant with Edell IT Solutions, attributed the resilience of the cards to the nature of the recipients.

“I believe the cards are surviving because students do not have mobile phones in schools therefore cannot receive e-messages.

“If this could happen, very few could be sending physical cards as is the case with Christmas cards, which a majority no longer send,” he said.


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