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Massive failure in Kiswahili by schools in Coast baffles leaders

By Philip Mwakio | May 8th 2021
Headteachers pick up exam papers at Uhuru na Kazi building in Mombasa at the start of the 2020 KCPE exams in March. [Omondi Onyango, Standard]

Leaders and education officials in Mombasa are concerned over the county’s dismal performance in Kiswahili in the Kenya Certificate of Primary Education (KCPE) last year.

The leaders, who spoke at a meeting in Mvita sub-county on Monday, lamented that while Mombasa had distinguished itself as the headquarters of Kiswahili, it was worrying local candidates were failing in the subject.

The meeting was organised to review the county’s performance in the subject over the years and moot ways to improve grades.

Some of the speakers blamed mass failure by candidates in the region on the emergence of Sheng, a Swahili and English-based slang, which is a mixed language or creole that originated among the urban youth of Nairobi.

County Director of Education Moses Bosire said they were still compiling the mean scores of all subjects examined in KCPE for the county but they were concerned about the poor performance of candidates in Kiswahili, especially in Mvita.

Mvita MP Abdulswamad Nassir, who chaired the meeting, said education stakeholders were surprised that the county’s mean score in Kiswahili had been dropping steadily.

Mvita sub-county, whose performance in Kiswahili was the most unimpressive in the county, covers the entire Mombasa island and has 72 primary schools.

Okwatswa Newton, Mvita sub-county education boss, said English was the best-performed subject, with a mean score of 61.92. Mvita had a total mean score of 279.40. 

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