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Is something off with this year's KCSE results?

 Education PS Bellio Kipsang (left), CS Ezekiel Machogu and KNEC Chairperson Julius Nyambudi during the release of the 2022 KCSE examinations results on January 20, 2023. [Samson Wire, Standard]

Education Cabinet Secretary Ezekiel Machogu released last year’s KCSE results, and some do not make sense at all. I do not want to say there was massive cheating in some instances without any evidence.

However, there is a Swahili saying that he who has eyes does not wait to be shown what to see. First, CS Machogu gave the least detailed report ever. There was nothing on improved schools or comparison of students’ results at KCSE and KCPE.

Then, unlike in KCPE results where some candidates were denied marks in some subjects for cheating, Machogu declared the KCSE 2022 results the cleanest ever with no reported cases of cheating.

Now, if Machogu were to give a detailed report on most improved schools, you would be surprised to see  how schools that scored a mean of 4 or 5 in 2021 are now scoring 10.

It seems the unwritten slogan for select schools in 2022 was ‘leave no one behind’. For a number of them, the lowest recorded grade is B-. In some, there is a massive concentration of candidates in grades A- through to B+. 

Normal results are expected to have a natural distribution between grades creating a natural curve. Using the categorisation of schools in Kenya, you can easily gauge the calibre of students admitted into a school at Form One and the natural expectation of their performance. I’m sure some candidates are even surprised by their own results.

 Teachers in Kisii County tally the 2022 KCSE results after they were released by Education CS Ezekiel Machogu on Friday. [Sammy Omingo, Standard]

There is nothing as dangerous as making shortcuts in life. If at all, there was massive cheating, then in the next few years, we shall have our government institutions, private offices and businesses run by people who do not believe in processes. These people will not miss a chance to perpetuate cheating and corruption.

However, what is more worrying is that, these grades will determine whether someone will go to critical sectors like medicine, teaching, engineering and accounting etc. So, in essence we run the risk of qualifying people for courses that ideally they do not qualify for.

In the same vein, they will deny those who are genuinely qualified from pursuing them. The idea behind removal of official rankings of students and schools was to run away from undue competition and over-glorification of university entry grades. The aim is to judge a monkey by how fast it can climb a tree and not how fast it can swim.

Similarly, a fish cannot be judged by how fast it can climb a tree. The first step towards this reality is to ensure candidates get results that belong to them.

To all who sat KCSE last year and got results that belong to them, congratulations!

The writer is anchor at Radio Maisha

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