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The past few days have brought joy to thousands of 2019 KCPE candidates. But it has also brought anxiety and sadness to thousands of others.

First, the manner in which the education ministry has released the placement results of the Form One selection has left a lot to be desired. Although we appreciate that choosing schools for more than one million students is a herculean task, the ministry would have done well to release the results of all the students on the same day — just the way it did with KCPE results.

Releasing the placement in national, extra-county and county schools on different days amplified anxiety among students and parents--and made them to waste time and money sending text messages and checking the Internet for results. The ministry should have taken its time instead of releasing the results in dribs and drabs.

But that’s the lesser problem. The bigger problem is that thousands of students — 30,000 according to Education CS George Magoha — will not get schools of their choice. Some of them have been placed in schools they would never have wanted to join, some far away from home. But as Prof Magoha has explained, some counties lack enough schools, necessitating the move. Which is okay.

However, some students missed schools of their choice because of their teachers’ mistakes. The teachers failed to advise parents correctly on the selection process. Some of the parents therefore selected fewer schools than the 11 stipulated by the ministry. That was a failure on the part of the ministry too as it ought to have guided teachers well on the selection.

What is annoying is that the ministry has made it extremely difficult for a student to switch to another school in case of a vacancy. A student is supposed to make an application through Nemis, which only serves to heighten their anxiety.

To make matters worse, one cannot apply to join a school they never chose. But, pray, what will happen to students who have few alternatives; those who were misguided by their teachers to choose only a handful schools?

These students will be forced to join schools they do not like while there are schools they like that are ready to take them in. This is wrong. It is dispiriting. If it happens, the ministry will have failed these students—twice.

The best thing is to allow these students to join schools of their choice as long as they qualify and there is a vacancy. Doing otherwise is punishing these students for mistakes not of their own making.

The past few days have brought joy to thousands of 2019 KCPE candidates. But it has also brought anxiety and sadness to thousands others.

First, the manner in which the education ministry has released the placement results of the Form One selection has left a lot to be desired. Although we appreciate that choosing schools for more than one million students is a herculean task, the ministry would have done well to release the results of all the students on the same day — just the way it did with KCPE results.

Releasing the placement in national, extra-county and county schools on different days amplified anxiety among students and parents--and made them to waste time and money sending text messages and checking the Internet for results. The ministry should have taken its time instead of releasing the results in dribs and drabs.

But that’s the lesser problem. The bigger problem is that thousands of students — 30,000 according to Education CS George Magoha — will not get schools of their choice. Some of them have been placed in schools they would never have wanted to join, some far away from home. But as Prof Magoha has explained, some counties lack enough schools, necessitating the move. Which is okay.

However, some students missed schools of their choice because of their teachers’ mistakes. The teachers failed to advise parents correctly on the selection process. Some of the parents therefore selected fewer schools than the 11 stipulated by the ministry. That was a failure on the part of the ministry too as it ought to have guided teachers well on the selection.

What is annoying is that the ministry has made it extremely difficult for a student to switch to another school in case of a vacancy. A student is supposed to make an application through Nemis, which only serves to heighten their anxiety.

To make matters worse, one cannot apply to join a school they never chose. But, pray, what will happen to students who have few alternatives; those who were misguided by their teachers to choose only a handful schools?

These students will be forced to join schools they do not like while there are schools they like that are ready to take them in. This is wrong. It is dispiriting. If it happens, the ministry will have failed these students—twice.

The best thing is to allow these students to join schools of their choice as long as they qualify and there is a vacancy. Doing otherwise is punishing these students for mistakes not of their own making.

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Education Ministry Form One Selection
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