Students anticipate release of KCSE results

Education Cabinet Secretary Ezekiel Machogu. [Edward Kiplimo, Standard]

Thousands of students who sat for the 2023 Kenya Certificate of Secondary Education (KCSE) exams are eagerly awaiting the much-anticipated release of results.

Education Cabinet Secretary Ezekiel Machogu confirmed the timeline in late December, stating that the fate of the 903,260 candidates will be revealed "by the second week of January."

Last year, the results were released on January 20.

The 2023 KCSE results carry extra weight, as they coincide with the implementation of a new grading system aimed at boosting university access. 

Unveiled in August, the revised structure reduces the number of compulsory subjects used to reach the candidate's final score from the previous five subjects to only two.

Under the new grading, the two compulsory subjects will be Mathematics and any language (English, Kiswahili, or National Sign Language) 

The two compulsory subjects now are Mathematics and a language (English, Kiswahili, or Kenya Sign Language) and the other marks will be derived from any other five best-performing subjects.

The changes are part of recommendations by the Presidential Working Party on Education Reforms and aim to increase university entry qualifications.

Under the previous grading system, the five compulsory subjects include (English, Math, Kiswahili, two sciences) and two others. 

This shift stems from concerns about the previous system being seen not to favour students whose best subjects didn't fall within the mandatory cluster. 

"The current system is disadvantageous to some learners," explained Machogu. "We are doing this to allow learners to explore subjects they are good at."

The candidates will also be the second lot of students to be admitted to institutions of higher learning, universities and colleges under the new funding model.

Instead of categories, students will now be grouped into bands and all learners will now be required to share the cost of tuition fees with the government.

In the reviewed formula, all students listed in the five bands will get a boom of between Sh40,000 to Sh60,000, graduated based on households.

They will also pay between 5 per cent and 40 per cent of the fees.

Under the revised system, students in band one (previously 'vulnerable') will get 70 per cent of scholarships and 25 per cent for loans. 

Parents in these households will now pay five per cent of the fees. Additionally, students will receive Sh60,000 for upkeep. 

In band two (previously 'extremely needy'), students will receive 60 per cent scholarships and 30 per cent loans. 

Parents will contribute 10 per cent of the costs, and the government will allocate Sh55,000 to each student for upkeep. 

Band three (previously 'needy') students will receive 50 per cent scholarships and 30 per cent loans, with parents covering 20 per cent of the costs. 

Students in this group will receive Sh50,000 for upkeep. 

The newly introduced band five will receive scholarships of 30 per cent and another 30 per cent for loans, with households paying 40 per cent of the costs. 

Students in this group will receive Sh40,000 for upkeep. 

The adjustments were made amid concerns about the sustainability of the initial funding formula. 

The new grading system, coupled with a change in the funding model could offer a glimmer of hope for a brighter educational future for Kenyan youth.