School had 705 students who sat KCSE exams, the highest candidature in the country.
Maranda High School, with 705 candidates, will send 618 students to the university, an impressive performance given the huge numbers.
The school posted a mean grade of 8.906.
The populous class size also turns to focus on the rapid rise of institutions that were previously provincial schools and later upgraded to the national level by the Ministry of Education.
Board of Governors chair Carey Orege commended the school for exemplary results, noting the institution had the largest number of candidates sitting this year’s Kenya Certificate of Secondary Education (KCSE) in the country.
“On behalf of Board of Management, I congratulate the class of 2019, principal, teachers and community of Maranda High School for the fantastic KCSE results,” he said.
The school also produced top candidates aged below 16, though it did not feature in top 10 nationally. Maranda managed 19 As, 142 A-, 156 B+, 133 B, 99 B- and 69 C+.
However, the principal Edwin Namachanja said the school did not perform to its expectations because of the high number of candidates it had registered.
“This is a record number. It is very difficult to get to the top because of the large number of candidates,” he stated.
But the Kenya Secondary School Heads Association chair Kahi Indimuli has a different view. He says enrolling large numbers helps in high transition rates just like in Ghana, where schools have more than 2,000 students, who are also boarders.
He instead urged the government to invest heavily on infrastructure to avoid congestion and lack of modern equipment and employ adequate staff.
“The ratio of one teacher to students should be 45. The case of some classes having 60, 70 or 80 students per class is not tenable,” he said.
Mr Indimuli added that selection involved performance and quota system, where marginalised counties got a slot. Indimuli said this would also address concerns where some schools are under-enrolled and end up folding up.
“The spectrum of the teaching force should meet world standards, not to compromise quality. When a teacher has 80 students learning English, marking essays may not be of quality,” he said.
Other schools with big number of candidates were Maseno School (477), Kisii School (445), Agoro Sare (413), Asumbi Girls (405), Nakuru Girls (234), Nakuru Boys (255) and Homa Bay High (318).
The top 10 schools nationally also had high number of candidates. They include Kenya High (315), Kapsabet Boys (379), Alliance High (423), Moi High School, Kabarak (324), Alliance Girls (396), Maryhill Girls (337), Nairobi School (353), Mangu High (343) and Moi Girls School Eldoret (351).
Kenya Union of Post Primary Education Teachers Secretary General Akello Misori took issue with the government’s order for 100 per cent transition to secondary schools without commensurate personnel and infrastructure.
“Kenyan schools do not have the luxury of staff and infrastructure. However, the traditional national schools like Kenya High, Alliance and Mangu, among others, have infrastructure but also face the challenge of staffing,” he said.
He also censured the Teachers Service Commission (TSC) for not posting enough teachers, arguing that the ratio was more skewed towards the learners against the staff.
“Maranda, for instance, despite its remarkable performance, has the challenge of infrastructure and human resource. For schools like Alliance, it is staffing,” he said.
Mr Misori yesterday faulted the haphazard allocation of slots to schools by the education ministry, saying it compromised on quality.
He censured the ministry for not factoring in capacity of individual schools before allocating slots in line with President Uhuru Kenyatta’s government commitment of 100 per cent transition.
“The element of categorisation is discriminatory. Though the 100 per cent transition from primary is progressive, it is more focused on quantity attainment than quality... It is just to ensure learners pass through the system,” said Misori.
He added that the capacity of individual institutions had not been adequately enhanced and that this really undermined quality teaching.
Misori called for the development of a template to define schools in order to ensure standards were maintained.
However, Indimuli yesterday differed with Misori on the call to abolish categorisation, saying it was the only measure that drove candidates to the university.
He said in the current curriculum, nothing that can be done. However, he added, it can be implemented with the new curriculum. He pushed for reorganisation of clusters in schools selection. “The traditional national schools should be clustered differently from those upgraded to allow candidates to have a second option,” he said.
Traditional Coast region giants posted appalling results, with only six As shared among three private schools. The three – Sheikh Khalifa, Memon Academy and Light Academy, had three, two and one A respectively. Significantly Coast’s national schools failed to produce a candidate with A plain although many posted A minus.