Form One selection should be fair, private schools tell state

The community of Janeiro Junior Academy congratulate top candidates in the 2022 KCPE exam. [James Omoro, Standard]

The Kenya Private Schools Association (KPSA) has asked the government to ensure fairness in Form One selection.

The association's vice chairman Solomon Munene said the selection should be guided by performance of candidates in the Kenya Certificate of Primary Education (KCPE) exam.

"The government should reward hard work and let all candidates join secondary schools of their choice as per their performance," said Munene.

He added: “All candidates are Kenyan children and it is our belief that Form One selection will be fair to all. Private schools are keenly watching.”

Munene also asked the Ministry of Education to consider including private secondary schools in Form One selection and placement.

“Private secondary schools struggle to get Form One students because they are excluded from the selection. This is unfair because private secondary schools have invested a lot in infrastructure and learning materials and yet their facilities are greatly underutilised,” Munene said.

He said the government, and indeed all stakeholders should support private schools in the spirit of public-private partnership, saying this will also help in decongesting public secondary schools.

“We also request the government to consider extending capitation to students in private secondary schools like their peers in public secondary schools,” Munene said.

He said support from the national government would attract parents to private secondary schools and consequently ease the congestion in public secondary schools.

Green Mount School Director Welsley Kipkemoi urged the Ministry of Education to conduct a fair selection and placement of Form Ones, stating the process has been unfair, especially for private schools. 

“We are really concerned with placement but the good thing is that it will be done digitally because in the past there was segregation where learners in private schools found themselves in the schools they did not select,” said Kipkemoi. 

Meanwhile, teachers, parents and politicians want KCPE results for Moi DEB Primary reviewed after the academic giant performed dismally.

Kimilili MP Didmus Barasa has threatened to petition the results in court. Some parents shed tears over the school's dismal performance.

“I have asked the Education CS, who is also my good friend, to order that the results of the pupils of Moi DEB Primary School in Bungoma be reviewed. If this will not happen in the next 14 days, I will move to court,” he said Saturday.

Moi DEB Primary head teacher Kelfin Wanyama said he was not comfortable with the results and that the school was going to make an appeal for the exam to be remarked.

The first student scored 365 marks, which according to Mr Wanyama, was a major drop from last year when they had 20 students score above 400. The school had a mean grade of 343.

“Never in the history of the school has our performance been this bad. I doubt we can get such marks even if it meant that the teachers never entered a classroom,” he said.

“I have spoken to the sub-county director of education to come here so that he can help us launch a re-look at the results.”

He said the results could not be measured with those posted by their peers in the county as they fell way below their expectations.

He said his top candidates posted poor results when yet they had scored highly in the Continuous Assessment Tests and mock exam.

“The pupils were well prepared, always coming to school early and leaving late. The teachers had done their best in getting them ready for the exams. Parents also put in a lot of effort in preparing them for the exams but got what they never anticipated,” he said.

He regretted that his own son, a potential top scorer in exams, garnered 334 marks which he feared could not afford him a position at Maranda Secondary which he had wanted him to join.

The Standard team found some parents, teachers and pupils crying around the notice board on the day the results were announced.

Those interviewed said they had high expectations but were disappointed.

Wanyama was initially a deputy head teacher at Bungoma DEB before being transferred to Moi DEB.

The school has for years been among the best-performing public schools in Bungoma County.

Meanwhile, in Busia, Nambale Magnet School produced the top student Vallery Awino who got 426 marks followed by Akoth Akelo who scored 415 from the same school.

Others who did well were Judy Ushindi 412 and Zubeda Issa 411 from Clanne Academy Funyula.

Beyonce Musinzi Anyango of Chakol Girls Primary School got 406 to tie with Joel Austine of St. James Model primary.

Model Primary was among the top performers in the county, with a mean score of 374.