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Report shows decline in 100 per cent transition to higher schools

By Augustine Oduor | May 6th 2022 | 3 min read

A parent accompanies her daughter to Sinyolo Girls High School in Kisumu County on May 4, 2022 for Form One admission. [Collins Oduor, Standard]

Efforts by the Ministry of Education to mop up learners to complete primary and secondary education has come under sharp focus as a new report points to a declining trend.

The Economic Survey 2022  released yesterday indicates that last year recorded the lowest number of transition of pupils from primary to secondary schools in the past five years.

The report shows that only 75.8 per cent of learners moved from primary to secondary schools in 2021, compared to other years.

Pupils who completed school in the same year stood at 85.5 per cent, according to the report.

The report reveals that 2020 recorded the highest number of children who completed primary education and those who moved to secondary schools.

Some 94.6 per cent of pupils completed primary school in 2020. Another 91 per cent transitioned from primary to secondary schools in 2020.

Overall, since 2017, the transition rate from primary to secondary schools has ranged between 83 per cent to 91 per cent.

And the rate of completion for primary schools since 2017 has ranged between 84 per cent and 94.6 per cent.

The data now throws into sharp focus the ministry’s efforts on 100 per cent transition, even as Form One admissions for the 2021 KCPE candidates gets underway.

As students join secondary schools this week, Ministry of Education officials will have to double efforts to ensure more learners join the higher education classes.

Concerns have been growing over the high number of candidates who register but fail to sit national examinations, poking holes on the 100 per cent transition that has been running for three years.

Analysis of the just-released 2021 KCPE examinations show that another 11,523 candidates failed to write the tests, worrying stakeholders.

Another 12,424 did not sit the 2020 KCPE tests.

Although the number of absent candidates was lower compared to the ones who missed 2020 tests, the figures significantly went up in 2020 and 2021.

Missed the examinations

In 2019, some 5,530 Class Eight candidates missed the examinations but the rates shot up to 12,424 in 2020 and 11,523 in 2021.

The report however says enrolment in pre-primary increased by 0.4 per cent to 2,845.3 thousand in 2021. In Primary, enrolment increased by 1.1per cent to 10,285.1 thousand in 2021. And secondary enrolment increased by 4.9 per cent to 3.7 million in 2021.

In TVETs, report says that enrolment increased by 10.4 per cent to 498.3 thousand in 2021, while in universities, enrolment is expected to increase by 2.8 per cent to 562.1 thousand in 2021/22.

World Health Organisation and Unicef last year raised concerns on the looming effects of the long school closure due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

The agencies warned of school dropouts due to teenage pregnancies, bad habits and poor nutrition among other reasons.

However, Ministry of Education officials who spoke to The Standard cited cases of early pregnancy and marriage cases among the girls due to the prolonged schools’ closures.

And for the boys, it is said that most of them opted to undertake commercial ventures, including fishing, boda boda business and small income generation activities, which kept them off schools. In the pastoral communities, ministry officials said many learners moved in search of pastures.

And many others were displaced in the flood-prone areas such as Kisumu’s Nyando area and Baringo.

Effects of drugs and substance abuses, cultural practices such as initiation rites in places such as Samburu and Maasai land, as well as conflicts in areas such as Isiolo were also cited as the reasons that made most candidates miss examinations.

Education stakeholders now claim that early registration of candidates is majorly responsible for the high absentee candidates.

Kenya Union of Post-Primary Education Teachers and the Kenya National Union of Teachers argue that candidates should be registered during the examination year and not a year before exam time.

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