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Covid-19 should not ruin dreams of KCPE stars

By Editorial | April 16th 2021

Day Spring Junior school Laura Adhiambo (centre) with 425 marks carried shoulder high by parents and teachers, joined by her colleagues from left Darllian Omina with 417 marks, Denzel Samuel Omondi with 395 marks and Cindi Muthoni with 405 marks as they celebrated at the school on April 16, 2021.[ Jenipher Wachie, Standard]

The 2020 Kenya Certificate of Primary Education (KCPE) candidates will go down in the country’s history as overcomers beyond the actual marks they scored. The release of the KCPE results tells many tales of inspiration of triumph over adversity. They survived the deadly coronavirus pandemic and an eight-month break from school. It is a tale of parents ready to move heaven and earth to give their children the best shot at life; it is also a tale of hardworking teachers who took up extra hours to prepare the candidates to pass; it is also a tale of government officials who made sure the exam did not leak. 

Attention now turns to Form One selection next month before students report to schools in July.

While it is good news that all Standard Eight candidates will transition into secondary school, everything must be done to ensure the process is credible just as Education Cabinet Secretary George Magoha promised. The often opaque and secretive nature of the selection has invited criticism and accusations of unfairness and favouritism. That need not be the case. No student should miss out on their schools of choice if they have attained the required marks.

But there are challenges.

The selection and resumption of learning will take place amid a third wave of the Covid-19 pandemic which has led to job cuts and wiped away income, besides human loss and thereby straining families. Even before the pandemic, the high cost of school fees remains a barrier to many children especially from poor backgrounds from transitioning to secondary school. The precarious situation of many households is such that the dreams of many boys and girls might just evaporate for lack of fees.

For many families, education remains the door-opener, a choice-giver. And the exorbitant fees charged in most schools denies them a ladder out of poverty.

Poverty and the debilitating effects of the pandemic is slumming the door on many bright youngsters. We should not let the pandemic ruin the dreams of these ones.

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We laud efforts by such benefactors like Equity Bank who through initiatives such Elimu Scholarship Programme will sponsor 9,000 needy children. More entities should join in.

Additionally, the more than 260,000 candidates who scored below 200 must be encouraged; foundering in an exam is not a dead end in their education journey.

Covid 19 Time Series


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