The country's top candidates in this year's Kenya Certificate of Primary Education (KCPE) exams have all been posted to national schools. Alliance High School, Alliance Girls High School and Kenya High are just a few of the "old" national schools that landed the top brains.
Andy Munyiri (440) heads to Alliance High School, Onyango Flavian (439) Alliance Girls High School while Koech June (439) is set to join Pangani Girls. A total of 1,083,456 pupils were accessed in the 2019 KCPE examinations and 1,075,201 have been placed in secondary schools.
The Ministry of Education has also set January 13, 2020 as the reporting date for all students joining Form One. Education Cabinet Secretary George Magoha yesterday said the last date students are expected to report is January 17, 2020.
At the same time, all private schools must complete their selections by December 16, 2019.
Speaking at the launch of Form One selection at Kenya Institute of Curriculum Development (KICD), Prof Magoha said ministry officials will be required to file accurate and daily returns on the status of reporting in schools in order to ensure 100 per cent transition to secondary schools.
“Parents and guardians should, therefore, use the next four weeks to make necessary arrangements in readiness of the academic year,” said Magoha.
Inmates, overage candidates and refugees in camps have been excluded in the placement. Magoha noted a challenge where a sizeable number of candidates opted to select only one or two secondary schools instead of the required 11, terming it 'a suicidal decision'.
Making right choices
He urged parents, guardians and teachers to work closely with candidates in selecting schools to ensure they make the right choices.
“This year we discovered that top candidates have the tendency of selecting a few schools, unfortunately, the top schools that are the envy of every candidate do not have the capacity to admit all of them,” Magoha said.
He added: “When you have already committed suicide yourself, we shall place you where you did not choose.”
Students are required to choose 11 schools to increase their chances of placements. He said a lot of candidates fail to follow the selection guidelines. The CS said it puts the ministry in a dilemma when thousands of candidates choose the same school.
Losing their first choices leaves them at the mercy of other remaining schools, some of which they may not be interested in. Magoha said the ministry had opted to place such candidates in schools matching their marks and capacities even if they did not choose them.
“For example, 111,817 candidates chose Pangani while there are only 336 slots, 49,727 candidates chose Kenya High School while there are only 336 slots and 83,489 chose Alliance Girls where there are just 384 slots,” Magoha said.
A story carried in this publication yesterday showed Pangani Girls, Kapsabet Boys, Maranda, Alliance High, Alliance Girls and Moi Girls Eldoret were among the most popular schools. The data was based on selection to Form One for students who sat KCPE in 2018.
Other popular schools, according to that data, include Mangu, Lenana, Nairobi School, Starehe Boys, Maseno School, Kenya High, Limuru Girls, Mary Hill and Nakuru Girls.
Kapsabet Boys, for instance, was the most popular choice for boys with 62,382 picking it as their first choice against a capacity of 432. It was followed by Maranda which has a capacity of 528. Some 34,138 boys picked it as their first choice. Mangu with space for 384 students had the highest number of applicants at 86,976.
Majority of these schools maintained the trend this year as the most favoured picks by those seeking to joining Form One.
Yesterday, Magoha said counties continue to face school capacity challenges. He cited urban areas like Nairobi and Mombasa where there is high concentration of private schools, that has seen children pushed to get high scores yet there are no secondary schools.
Overall, candidates from private schools performed better than their public school counterparts. While releasing the results last month Magoha commended public schools for their improved performance, saying it was proof Free Primary Education Programme was working and teachers were delivering despite the increasing numbers of pupils.
“Faced with these challenges, the ministry will place learners from these counties to schools in the neighbouring counties and not to schools of their choices,” Magoha said.
Additionally, he said there are 9,000 scholarships available for needy students at a cost of Sh3 billion. Initially, the government mapped about 110 sub-counties that would be considered to ensure 100 per cent transition.
Magoha said all the slums in the inner cities must be included, adding the ministry had identified 15 metropolitan areas that qualify.
“The ministry looks at a faceless Kenyan child, not considering where one comes from, every Kenyan child must be given justice through an equal opportunity,” said Magoha.
He said focus was on areas that were notorious for marrying off girls at this particular time.
Teachers Service Commission boss Nancy Macharia said over the past two years they had recruited 8,700 teachers on permanent and pensionable basis.
They hope the situation will get better when 10,000 interns are posted to schools in January 2019.
TSC will train 100,000 teachers on CBC this month, this will be the last round of training this year. It will bring the number of teachers trained so far to 228,000.
“I wish to assure the country that our teachers are adequately prepared for Grade 4 CBC rollout next year,” said Macharia.
Early Learning and Basic Education PS, Belio Kipsang said in this year’s selection they relied on technology.