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Former Alliance principal faults Form 1 selection

By | January 25th 2012

By Standard Reporter

This year’s Form 1 selection procedure to national schools has drawn the ire of former Alliance and Friend’s School Kamusinga principal Christopher Khaemba.

In a press statement to the media, the highly venerated principal faulted the process as unfair and skewed against pupils from rural schools.

"The method used to distribute students to national schools is a distortion of merit, equity and fairness," said Mr Khaemba, also the founding Dean of African Leadership Academy — the continent’s premier girls’ school based in South Africa.

He cited Bungoma County’s top girl, who despite her sterling performance, was denied admission to any of the three nation schools she had selected.

Jepkirui Edith Lorna, who scored 433 marks, had selected Moi Girls Eldoret, Alliance Girls and the Kenya High as her national school choices.

"In total disregard of her score, the young girl was sent to Lugulu Girls, which was her provincial school choice," Khaemba said.

"Even with the discriminatory approach that was weighted against private schools, it just makes sense that the best student should have got her choice."

The top boy in the county met the same fate. Masinde Joseph Baraka, who scored 432 marks, could neither make it to Mang’u nor Alliance — his choice for national school.

"A system that substitutes and distorts merit is corrupt and lacking in relevance. Such a system is unnecessarily punitive when it is the future of our children at stake," Khaemba said in the statement.

"In a situation where good schools are scarce, merit is the only option," he said.

According to Khaemba, Bungoma County in particular has been dealt a big blow, whose two newly elevated national schools _ Lugulu Girls and Friends School Kamusinga — jointly admitted 48 students.

Towards the end of 2011, Education Minister Prof Sam Ongeri and the PS Prof James ole Kiyiapi took the principals of the 30 new national schools through the formula to allocate Form One placements.

According to the formula, 20 per cent should come from the district that hosts the school; 40 per cent from the host county and 40 per cent from outside the county.

Khaemba says going through the calculations, Bungoma County have had 240 places in the two schools.

"The Ministry of Education can violated its own rules and did not explain the reasons for abandoning this method of Form One selection," he said.

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