Olive Wachira Mwea of Riara Primary School and Rawlings Odhiambo of Kakamega Hill School tied for top honours with 453 marks in this year’s Kenya Certificate of Primary Education (KCPE) examination.
Ikombe Primary School in Yatta, Machakos County, emerged the top school in the country in the results released yesterday.
The public school with 95 candidates posted a mean score of 418 marks.
At Riara, a private school in Nairobi, 76 out of 168 candidates scored above 400 marks to give the school a mean score of 386.9.
During yesterday’s event at Star of the Sea Primary School in Mombasa, it also emerged that cartels had collected up to Sh6 billion to discredit the national examinations.
Kenya National Examination Council (Knec) chairperson George Magoha revealed that parents and teachers collected between Sh1,000 and Sh90,000 to buy exam questions this year.
“This was a big fight that we had to escalate security measures and protect the examinations from the bad people,” said Prof Magoha.
Education Cabinet Secretary Amina Mohamed, however, said the overall performance of this year’s candidates had improved compared to last year.
“The number of candidates scoring 400 marks and above rose to 12,273 from 9,846 last year, while some 228,414 candidates scored between 301 and 401 marks compared to 217,307 last year.
“The majority, 574,927 candidates posted between 201 and 300 marks against 529,897 last year,” said Amina.
The CS also announced that only 2,177 candidates scored between 001 and 100 marks in the just released results compared to 2,360 candidates last year.
Amina, however, said that the growing number of teenage pregnancies had reached alarming levels and accused parents for failing in their duties. “Preliminary statistics show that the magnitude of the problem is far bigger than we had initially thought.”
Teachers Service Commission (TSC) CEO Nancy Macharia said 32 teachers had been deregistered for engaging in sexual relationships with students.
Mrs Macharia also said that head teachers and teachers who covered up sexual abuse against children would be punished. “Those who have been complacent in the matter of teenage pregnancies will be dealt with.”
Amina said the problem of under-age pregnancies must not be viewed as a burden of the Ministry of Education alone.
“We are dealing with a complex issue and we will work with all relevant Government agencies to effect the urgent changes required,” she said.
Basic Education Principal Secretary Belio Kipsang said parents and teachers were to blame for the rising cases of pregnancies.
“We cannot use our theatre (classrooms) to do what we are not supposed to do. Parents and teachers will he held accountable,” said Kipsang.
He said the ministry was working on policies that would ensure all schools were child-friendly.
Amina said this year’s results showed that teachers had focused on their work and candidates had worked hard in class.
She said while girls did well in English, Kiswahili and Kenyan Sign Language, boys performed better in Mathematics, Sciences, Social Science and Religious Education studies.
On special candidates, the CS said 2,495 candidates sat the exam with the best candidate scoring 446 marks.
And out of the 1,060,711 candidates who sat the exam, only four had their results cancelled.
“During the monitoring exercise, our vigilant teams discovered four candidates guilty of impersonation. These four will have their results cancelled,” said Amina.
TSC also recognised three teachers for exemplary performance in the administration of the KCPE exams even as it read the riot act to its staff.
Boru Racha, Mohamed Hassan and Beladine Dothyo were lauded for fully implementing Knec measures.
Macharia, however, said 26 teachers were involved in irregularities by abetting impersonation and cheating. “We have initiated disciplinary process against these teachers and we will deal with them expeditiously and ruthlessly.”
She continued: “We cannot allow a few teachers to destroy the future of our children. There will be no room for mistakes.”
The CEO said the commission had also instituted an audit to ensure only TSC-accredited teachers teach in public and private institutions.
Amina said the number of absentee KCPE candidates decreased from 9,726 in 2017 to 8,347. These are candidates who register, but fail to show up for the tests. The CS assured that all the candidates who sat the exam would join Form One.