Alarm as boy-child falls off exam radar

KCPE candidates at Victoria Primary School in Kisumu frisked before sitting the examinations last year. [File, Standard]
The number of female students sitting national examinations in Nyanza has for the first time surpassed their male counterparts' this year.

Even though some Nyanza counties registered higher number of girls than boys for the examinations in the past years, the overall statistics have always placed the population of the males ahead.

According to statistics from the Ministry of Education, 79,707 female candidates from the region will sit this year’s Kenya Certificate of Primary Education (KCPE), 471 more than their male counterparts.

Last year 74,561 girls sat KCPE. The number was 768 less than that of boys.

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A wider margin was reported in 2016 when 68,521 girls sat the examinations compared to 70,999 boys.

This year, Kisumu, Kisii, Nyamira and Siaya counties have registered more girls than boys for the examinations set to begin this month.

According to the statistics, only in Migori and Homa Bay counties, with 13,029 and 15,149 registered female candidates respectively, did the number of male candidates, at 13,936 and 15,531 respectively, appear higher.

According to Edwin Ogutu, Kisumu County Chairman for the National Parents Association, the society has turned its back against the boy-child, a situation that has led to negative impact on their performance.

Mr Ogutu said male pupils were likely to stay out of school for close to a month with no one making follow-ups.

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Some of the boys, he said, became street children or got informal employment.

Ogutu’s sentiments were echoed by Kenya National Union of Teachers (Knut) Nyando Executive Secretary Ephraim Kananga, who said there was need to save the boy-child.

According to Mr Kananga, even though the new statistics represent the gender balance, boys have been neglected. “We know that families have been enlightened that both boys and girls need equal opportunities to go to school, but it has been misunderstood to the point that girls get all the attention while nobody cares about boys,” said Kananga.

Nyanza Regional Education Coordinator Richard Chepkawai, however, said there was no cause for alarm.

“Indeed the population of women is more than that of men across the society, so people should not worry that we have more female candidates than their male counterparts for this year's KCPE,” said Mr Chepkawai.

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