Form One school picks were ‘unfair’, says MP

Gatundu South MP Moses Kuria. He has threatened to downgrade schools so as to favour locals. [File, Standard]

An MP has expressed his displeasure over the manner in which the Ministry of Education handled the Form One selection process.

Gatundu South MP Moses Kuria is the latest to add his voice to growing discontent after thousands of students missed out on their secondary school choices.

The legislator, who was speaking in Nyeri yesterday when he attended a fundraiser at Kigogoini PCEA, said candidates from Mt Kenya region with high marks had been locked out of their schools of choice and had been admitted instead to ‘small’ schools in other counties.

“How can a child from Tetu score 420 marks and be admitted to a funny school like Mumbuini Secondary School yet we have good schools like Kagumo in Nyeri?” said Kuria, adding that there were good schools in the region that were admitting pupils from other counties with lower marks.

The Gatundu MP vowed to push for downgrading of schools in central Kenya so that they could accommodate more students from the region. “Even if we will have to downgrade our schools from national schools to village schools, we will do so that our children can learn in those schools.

“These schools were built by our grandfathers and grandmothers who wanted the schools to help their children,” he said.

Kuria said that the selection process, which was aimed at uniting the country, was victimising children from Mt Kenya region. “It is good to have a united country but this cannot be achieved at the expense of the future of our children.”

Kuria’s sentiments were echoed by Nyeri Governor Mutahi Kahiga who promised to support the legislator’s decisions on school selection.

Many students and schools that posted good performances have also expressed discontent with the Form One selection exercise.

At St Christopher School in Nanyuki, head teacher Agnes Nkiria said four of the school’s learners were admitted to school they did not choose.

Stella Wanjiku and Maryanne Njeri, who scored 372 and 368 marks respectively, were selected to join St Loise Girls Secondary School in Nanyuki although they had selected schools in Nyeri County.

“The two girls chose Othaya Girls, Tumutumu, Gataragwa and Mahiga schools but they came here crying that they don’t want to join the school,” said Ms Nkiria.

She added: “It’s unfortunate because parents have been forced to look for schools where the students feel comfortable. I have heard the outcry of many parents who complain that they hail from far and their children would be travelling long distances.”

Wanjiku’s mother Lucy Wairimu said she would have to look for another school for her daughter. “It will consume time but I would rather take her to a school she is comfortable in. Otherwise she will be demotivated and it may lower her performance,” said Ms Wairimu.

Jovan Mureithi and Shawn Muraguri, also from St Christopher School, were selected to join Doldol Boys School in Laikipia.

Their head teachers said that Doldol was not on the list of preferred schools for Mureithi, who scored 307 marks, and Muragiri who got 344 marks. Another former pupil at PCEA Girls in Nanyuki was selected to join St Loise Girls despite scoring 398 marks.