Why ranking in the exams was banned

"Even the Grade six learners would have wished to know how they performed. The anxiety is real. And the justification for not releasing their results is not enough," said Misori.

Top ministry officials yesterday told The Standard that the government had made a deliberate decision not to rank candidates, to tone down high stakes in national examinations.

According to the officials, learners who do not score high grades were stigmatised.

"We have lost children after results are released and in fact some school heads have been ejected from their institutions for not posting high scores. This must stop," said a senior official at the Ministry of Education.

Speaking during the release of the results, Education Cabinet Secretary Ezekiel Machogu only said that the top candidate had scored 431 marks.

He, however, did not disclose the name of the candidate nor the school.

Kenya Primary School Heads Association national chairman Johnson Nzioka welcomed the ban on ranking.

"We do not like ranking at all. They better do away with it because it brings unhealthy competition," said Nzioka.

The ministry is now implementing a recommendation made by a special education task force in 2014 that called for review in ranking of schools.

The Dr Kilemi Mwiria task force report proposed that ranking must be reviewed and a realistic measure of evaluating performance adopted.

"The clamour accompanying announcements of Kenya Certificate of Primary Education and Kenya Certificate of Secondary Education needs to be lessened, especially with regard to ranking top schools and students," reads the 2014 report.

Over the years, Knec has been ranking schools and candidates.

A senior ministry official told The Standard that research had shown that the management of examinations piles pressure on children and teachers. "There is every likelihood that a child and other people will try cheating, especially if they are trying to be number one and if they will be glorified," said the official.

The Dr Mwiria education task force said evaluation of schools' performance should only be used to inform Kenyans on institutions that attained the basic minimum academic pass mark. "Schools could be ranked by how many of their students have surpassed the 50 per cent pass mark," reads the report.