Mistakes lock most students out of dream schools, says Magoha

Faith Mumo who topped the 2020 KCPE results with 433 marks.[Edward Kiplimo,Standard]

According to last year’s Form One selection, Nanyuki High School received 154,524 applications yet it can accommodate only 384 students.

Several candidates made mistakes in selecting secondary schools leading to many of them not getting calling letters to the institutions they picked.

These mistakes also led to certain secondary schools receiving applications that outnumber by hundreds of thousands the spaces they have.

Education Cabinet Secretary George Magoha, while releasing Form One Selection results yesterday, said the mistakes happened because candidates did not get proper guidance and direction.

He said certain primary schools had all candidates selecting the same secondary schools in the same order, and that is what led to certain high schools receiving more applications than they can accommodate.

For instance, Nanyuki High School received 154,524 applications yet it can accommodate only 384 students.

Nanyuki was followed by Kabianga High School, which received 142,640 applications against a capacity of 480. Pangani Girls got 124,982 against its capacity of 384, Nyandarua High had 123,976 against a capacity of 288, while Alliance Girls had 105,053 applicants against 384 spaces.

Other schools flooded with applications were Maseno School, which had 104,581 against 528 places, Nakuru High with 100,840 against 336, Kapsabet Boys with 95,642 against 384, and Butere Girls with 94,774 against 432. Mbooni Girls received 93,515 applications against 240 spaces, while Mang’u High School had 93,271 applications against 384.

Alliance High School attracted 87,229 applications against 384 spaces, Kisumu Girls had 86,456 against 384, Nakuru Girls received 85,764 applications against 240 spaces, while Moi Girls Eldoret received 85,494 applications against 336 spaces.

Faith Mumo, the best female candidate who had 433 marks, was admitted to Kenya High while Samuel Makhanu, the best male candidate who garnered 431 marks, was admitted to Mang’u.

The selection criteria demands that a candidate chooses four national schools, three extra-county schools, two county and sub-county schools. 

When candidates from one primary school chose the same secondary schools and in the same order, it becomes impossible for any of them to be picked because they create “unnecessary competition”, according to Prof Magoha.

He said many of the candidates missed their preferred schools because it was impossible to select more than five learners from the same primary school. 

The CS, however, said equity, fairness, merit, transparency, inclusiveness and affirmative action informed the entire process, which saw 36,254 students comprising 17,406 girls and 18,848 boys placed in the 103 national schools.

The distribution in the extra-county schools is done on 20:40:40 ratio, with 20 per cent of the spaces reserved for the host sub-county, 40 per cent for the host county and the remaining 40 for the rest of the counties.

Placement of learners in county schools is done on a 20:80 ratio where 20 per cent of the spaces are allocated to the host sub-county and 80 per cent shared equitably among all the sub-counties in a given county.

Sub-county schools are usually the majority, and usually draw their learners from within the sub-counties.

It is an occurrence that caught the attention of many stakeholders who called for a thorough review of the selection process by bringing on board highly qualified career masters to guide learners.

“The government must not just sit back and leave this process to primary school teachers and parents,” said Kuppet national chair Omboko Milemba. “This is a serious issue that requires professional assistance from career and guidance professionals.” 

Magoha admitted that such challenges caused the delay in releasing the results.

“I direct my relevant ministry officials to mount proper sensitisation programmes on the Form One selection to ensure candidates make wise choices through proper advice.” 

At the same time, all candidates who scored 400 marks and above were placed in either national or extra-county schools in a process that saw 201,077 students placed in the extra-county schools.

Out of these, 95,646 were girls. The rest of the spaces in this category, or 105,431, were grabbed by boys.

The CS also announced that 7,927 candidates who sat the 2020 KCPE will not join Form One because they were either in prison, in refugee camps or were simply over age.

Red flag

“Of the 1,179,192 candidates who sat the 2020 KCPE examination, 1,171,265 have been placed in secondary schools,” Magoha said. 

“This is after excluding inmates, over age candidates, and candidates from refugee camps. We have therefore placed all candidates in secondary schools in keeping with our 100 per cent transition policy.”

While the Ministry of Education celebrates the third cohort of 100 per cent transition policy, headteachers are raising a red flag over inadequate infrastructure in the wake of an expected rise in enrollment.

“We are ready to receive the learners, but we are afraid our infrastructure will be overstretched. We need a thorough investment towards infrastructure to sustain the 100 per cent transition,” said Kenya Secondary Schools Heads Association chair Kahi Indimuli, who called on the Teachers Service Commission (TSC) to employ more teachers.

TSC boss Nancy Macharia said the commission intends to employ 5,000 teachers in the next financial year.

“Treasury has allocated TSC Sh2.5 billion for the recruitment of 5,000 teachers to ease the load in handling the increased enrollment. Qualified and registered teachers should look out for advertisements for employment opportunities next month,” she said.

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