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KCSE: Alliance boys top as girls close gap

By | Updated Tue, March 1st 2011 at 00:00 GMT +3

By Dorothy Otieno and Michael Oriedo

For the second year running Alliance High School

topped the Kenya Certificate of Secondary Education (KCSE) with performance index of 11.26, which falls under grade A- category.

The national school wiped out competitors taking

29 of 100 top candidates nationally. The school presented 214 candidates for the exams. It improved

its mean score by 0.31 from last year’s 10.94. In the top 100 candidates nationally, there were 22 girls and the rest were boys.

Wandui Albert Kamau from Moi High School Kabarak topped the country in last year’s Form Four examinations

Mwangasha Katini Lydia from Kenya High School emerged Kenya's best girl and fifth on national roll

In the 2010 results, Kenya National Examination Council reintroduced ranking of schools, which had been removed ostensibly because it encourages head teachers to employ unorthodox means like letting weak students to repeat classes just to remain at the top.

Alliance High, a boys’ school, was followed by neighbouring Precious Blood Riruta, Bahati Girls (Nakuru), Maranda High School in Siaya, Alliance Girls High School, Moi High School Kabarak, and Moi Girls School Eldoret.

But the best boy nationally, Master Albert Kamau Wandui, came from Rift Valley’s Moi High School Kabarak, a private school. The country’s best girl was Mwangasha Katini Lydia from Kenya High School, who was ranked fifth nationally, with performance index of 87.04229. Wandui had a performance index of 87.10 marks, which, however, was slightly lower than last year’s top score of 87.26 marks by David Ndung’u of Mangu High.

Private schools

In the top 100 schools nationally, there were 16 national schools, 53 provincials, 28 private, and three district schools. There were 14 candidates nationally from private schools, with the bulk coming from public schools.

Wandui had just sat down in their living room to listen to Ongeri announce the list of top performers when he heard the minister read out his name. He screamed, jumped from his seat and punched the air with his fist in jubilation.

"I was so surprised to be the top candidate. I do not even know who came second because I was excited," he said.

The son of a single-mother said he is humbled by the results. His mother, Jane Kamau, an information technology specialist, had no doubt his son would do well. "I had faith in God that he would pass. He has always been a good performer and he scored 421 marks in KCPE," she said.

Wandui declared he wants to be an engineer.

This year, girl schools pulled up their socks, taking up six of the top ten positions nationally. "I expected to perform well but emerging position one in the girl’s category is a surprise to me," said Mwangasha. Her mother, Grace Mwangasha is a teacher at Murray Girls High School in Mwatate District, where The Standard caught up with her celebrating her victory with relatives and friends.

National map

Mwangasha said she had been in the house from 10am waiting for results to be announced because she said she knew she could be among top students. Residents of Mtango Village in Chawia Location were proud she had put Taita-Taveta on the national map.

Precious Blood, a provincial school in Nairobi, was second in the top 100 schools nationally with a performance index of 11.01. Nakuru’s Bahati Girls followed with 10.78, and Nyanza’s Maranda third, with 10.56.

In Nairobi and Coast provinces, girls took the top three positions. Releasing the results at Kenya Institute of Education Minister Sam Ongeri commended improved performance of girls. The number of female candidates who scored C+ and above increased to 36,934 (23.17 per cent), up from 30,939 (9.2 per cent) in 2009.

Perennial top performer Starehe Boys dropped from position two last year to position 11 nationally, with a performance index of 10.34. The school was even beaten by its younger sister, Starehe Girls Centre, which took position nine with a performance index of 10.38.

Performance gap

But the performance gap was glaring when only three district schools featured among the top 100 schools nationally. The top district school was Rift Valley’s Molo Academy, which came position 21 nationally, with a performance index of 9.92.

It was followed by Eldoret’s AIC Chebisaas Boys Secondary School, which was ranked position 82 nationally, with a performance index of 8.76 and Nyakoiba Secondary School, with a performance index of 8.63. Traditional top performer Moi High School Kabarak was best private school nationally, with a performance index of 10.48. It was followed by Strathmore School, with a performance index of 10.38. Coast’s Sheikh Khalifa Bin Zayed Al-Nayhan Secondary came third, with 10.32.

There was indication planned upgrading of provincial schools into national status may not solve the problem of general poor performance in KCSE. At least seven national schools did not even feature in the top 40 schools nationally. They include Maseno School (45), Lenana School (46), Limuru Girls School (51), Moi Forces Academy (75), and Nakuru High (89). Utumishi and Nakuru Girls did not even feature among top 100 schools nationally.

Overall, the examination has witnessed improved performance. Ongeri said the number of candidates who obtained a mean grade of C+ and above increased from 81,048 in 2009 to 97,134 last year, representing 27.17 per cent of the total candidature. He said the improvement represents three per cent for candidates with the minimum university entry qualification, leading to 16,086 more compared to 2009.

About 357, 488 candidates registered for KCSE last year, compared to 337,404 in 2009 – an increase of 20,084, in 6,004 examination centres countrywide, compared to 5,600 in 2009.

"The number of male candidates who scored C+ and above this year increased to 60,200 (30.39 per cent), compared to 50,109 (14.9 per cent) in 2009," Ongeri said.

Further training

"Candidates who obtained grade D and above and are considered eligible for further training account for 87 per cent, compared to 85 per cent in 2009," Ongeri said.

The minister said the candidates also recorded improvement in 14 subjects, including Mathematics, Biology, Chemistry, Physics and Christian Religious Education, which registered a drop in 2009.

The minister further noted that the number of candidates involved in cheating dropped significantly to 534 (0.14 per cent), from 1,171 (0.35 per cent) in 2009. "This year recorded the lowest number of irregularities in the past 10 years … it is important that we continue with the war to stamp out cheating," Ongeri said.

He, however, expressed regrets some candidates collected money in advance with the intention to buy examination papers. "Some parents facilitated cheating by taking mobile phones to their daughters in boarding schools during prayer days," Ongeri said.

 

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