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Form One headache for parents

Parents, candidates and teachers of Westridge School, Thika Greens celebrate shortly after receiving KCPE results for the year 2021. [Fidelis Kabunyi, Stadnard]

With KCPE results for more than 1.2 million candidates released, focus now turns to Form One selection.

Parents have expressed fear their children may not get slots in their preferred institutions as it happened last time when too many pupils selected the top schools.

“If a child selects to join a national school and instead they are sent to an institution that perhaps was not in their list, it gets demoralising,” said Kenya National Parents Association Chairman Nicholas Maiyo.

Education Cabinet Secretary George Magoha said selection starts in two weeks.

Candidates are placed in secondary schools based on their performance, school choices and affirmative action.

Before the examinations, pupils choose four national schools, three extra-county,  and two county and sub-county institutions.

Yesterday, private schools called for fairness. “We do not want discrimination based on where the pupils sat examinations,” said Peter Ndoro, the Kenya Private Schools Association chief executive.

Mr Ndoro said private secondary schools have a capacity of 132,000 students, and "can increase capacity if we are required to.”

Over the years, only candidates who score 400 marks and above are guaranteed slots in national schools.

Quota system, which picks top performers per county, is also applied. In some cases, top two boys and girls are picked, depending on the quota.

Some 11,857 candidates scored 400 marks and above in last year's examination.

The 103 national schools have about 30,000 spaces. Some 315,275 candidates scored between 300 and 399 marks, and are expected to scramble for some slots in the national schools.

The 531 extra-county schools can accommodate 123,399 learners.

Another 142,358 slots will be available in the 1,031 county and 685,590 slots in 7,325 sub-county institutions.

Parents want all complaints raise last time addressed. Maiyo claimed that some candidates’ slots in national schools were sold out in two days after they failed to report.

He said some students miss out on their dream schools because the institutions do not have capacity, while in some cases, girls were admitted to boys' schools.

But Magoha blamed teachers for failure to guide pupils. “This act, which borders on carelessness on the part of the school, made many of the candidates miss their preferred schools because it is impossible to select more than five learners from the same school,” he said.

Data released by Magoha last year showed that top schools received applications of about 100,000.

Parents also want transfers made easy. “We know the process is done through Nemis, but we want an easier mechanism that will assist parents to move their children to schools they can afford,” said Maiyo.