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Unique subjects that make some schools popular during selection

Rose Mumbi Ngatia celebrates the 2021 KCPE exam results. She scored 420 marks at Karatina DEB Primary in Mathira, Nyeri [Kibata Kihu, Standard]

It has now emerged that secondary schools that offer technical subjects are more attractive to students.

It’s no wonder Nanyuki High School received the highest applications in Form One selection followed by Kabianga Boys High School.

Out of the 1.2 million students who sat the 2021 KCPE exams, 156,003 candidates wanted to join Nanyuki School, a boys’ boarding school in Laikipia County yet the school only has a capacity of 480 Form One students.

Another 149,087 applied to join Kabianga High School against the 528-student capacity.

According to Nanyuki High School principal Oliver Minishi, the school expanded the curriculum to introduce technical courses and out-of-class activities to nurture and build talents.

“We have moved from 15 to 22 subjects within two years. We introduced technical subjects, including aviation, electricity, building and construction, technical drawing, woodwork among others,” said Mr Minishi.

He added that film making, karate, rugby, among other co-curricular activities were introduced in the school.

“We believe in building student character and nurturing skills and that could explain why the majority of those eyeing to join national schools chose the school,” said Minishi.

Nanyuki High School principal Oliver Minishi. [Jacinta Mutura, Standard]

Kabianga principal Joash Aloo attributed the demand to the wide curriculum that saw the institution increase the capacity from five to 11 streams.

“We have a curriculum offering unique subjects like aviation technology, electricity, woodwork and foreign languages. We involve our learners in decision making,” said Aloo.

For two years running, Kabianga has been the most sought-after national school. In 2020, the school received 142,640 applications.

Other schools that received high applications were Pangani Girls (118,073), followed by Maseno School (110,811), Nakuru High School (107,915), Alliance Girls’ High School (104,353), Kapsabet Boys (99,725), Butere Girls’ (98,410), Mang’u (93,648) and Moi Girls Eldoret (92,666)

Pangani Girls’ Chief Principal Florence Ngarari said the school has attracted the largest number of KCPE female candidates for the last five years owing to discipline and the 100 per cent transition in all classes.

“Dropping out of Pangani Girls because of school fees is something that has never happened. We transit all students from one class to the other and transition from Form Four to the tertiary levels is also high,” said Ms Ngarari.

She the school focuses is on molding the girls with the right values.

“We ride on very high discipline and our performance is good,” she said. According to the principal, 98 per cent of the students who sat 2020 Kenya Certificate of Secondary Education (KCSE) joined universities and other tertiary institutions.

“We are more keen on the beneficiaries of the scholarships to ensure they all transit to the next level. Any sponsored student in our school is very key because by the time the child is being picked, they’re needy. Last year, we transited all the scholars to universities,” said Ngarari.

Education Cabinet Secretary George Magoha lauded the school for displaying good management.

Education Cabinet Secretary George Magoha. [David Gichuru, Standard]

“The school is under good leadership and now all the students want to come here instead of teachers copying what is being done here. All the teachers have undergone the same training,” said Prof Magoha. Ngarari said the school has been receiving support from the government due to the infrastructural pressure that results from the high numbers of students. This year, the school was allocated three classrooms for Competence Based Curriculum (CBC).

At Nanyuki High School, the principal said they have constructed new dormitories and classes to accommodate more students.

“We do not have sufficient classes and hostels but we have been receiving support from the ministry to support the high numbers. Next year will be more difficult because we will have double intake for the regular class and the CBC,” said Minishi.

According to Indimuli Kahi, chairman of Kenya Secondary’s Heads Association, the capitation of Sh22,244 for each secondary school student coupled with the capped school fees rate by the ministry may have a ripple effect in the running of schools.