Being called to Alliance High was a dream come true for the top candidate in the 2021 Kenya Certificate of Primary Education (KCPE) exam Bruce Mackenzie.
Mackenzie was excited yesterday after receiving his admission letter handed to him by none other than Education Cabinet Secretary Prof George Magoha.
The 14-year-old is among 38,797 candidates selected to join national schools.
“I am very happy that I have been admitted to my dream school. The school will give me a good foundation to pursue my dream career in Robotics Engineering,” said a delighted Mackenzie.
Ashley Kerubo Momanyi who came second with 427 marks will join The Kenya High School which was her first choice.
Top performers who will be joining national schools include Kwoma Charity (The Kenya High School), Mbugua Sharon Wairimu (Alliance Girls School), Mueti Shantel Ndinda (Maryhill Girls), Stanley Otieno Omondi (Maseno School), Wekesa Naomi Neema (The Kenya High School), Kimani Ethan Karuga (Murang’a High School).
Others were Njeru Joel Musyoka (Meru School), Kiriinya Muriuki Victor (Mang’u High School), Diana Rose Matolo (Alliance Girls), Kaberia Emmanuel Munene (Mang’u High), Emmanuel Kiplagat Ngetich (Kapsabet Boys), George Morris Otieno (Alliance High).
Prof Magoha also presented a letter of admission to special needs candidate, Mang’era Duncan Christopher, who was selected to Thika School for the Blind.
Speaking during the launch of the Form One selection, placement and admission process at Kenya Institute of Curriculum Development (KICD), Prof Magoha said out of the 1,225,502 2021 KCPE candidates, 38,797 will join national schools.
The CS urged parents to allow their children to join the schools they have been placed in, adding that the selection exercise applied the principles of merit, choice and equity.
“People should not bother me with phone calls because their child did not join the school of their choice. We have done justice to the children and every school is as good. It is not wise that everyone wants to join the top few national schools,” said the CS.
According to the CS, a majority of candidates who scored 400 marks and above had been placed in national or extra county schools of their choice.
“We have given opportunities to the less fortunate in our society. The Special Needs candidates were also placed in regular schools of their preference, while others were placed in special schools based on their disability categories, on merit and choice,” said Prof Magoha.
Some 2,045 candidates will join Special Needs schools, another 214,960 will join extra county schools, and 218,456 will go to county schools. Refugee camps got 9,128 placement slots.
Sub-county schools, which are majorly day schools, will accommodate the huge number of 726,311 students.
Prof Magoha lauded St. Albert Ulanda Girls and Sironga Girls schools for creating sufficient capacities.
“These schools went out of their way to expand capacity in support of 100 per cent transition. For instance, Ulanda has 17 streams and the Teachers Service Commission will work with such schools to ensure there are enough teachers,” said Prof Magoha.
Just like in 2020, some secondary schools attracted many applicants against lower capacities.
Nanyuki High School in Laikipia County –for the second year –emerged as the most preferred secondary school after 156,003 KCPE candidates applied to join the school followed by Kabianga High School which received 149,087 applications against their Form One capacities of 480 and 528 slots respectively.
Other school that received high applications include Pangani Girls (118,073), Maseno School (110,811) Nakuru High School (107,915), Alliance Girls’ High School (104,353) Kapsabet Boys (99,725), Butere Girls High School (98,410), Mang’u High School (93,648) and Moi Girls’ High School- Eldoret (92,666).
The schools’ Form One capacities range between 240 and 528 slots.
According to the CS, Form One selection was done meticulously to ensure all the candidates get placed in schools they deserve.
He said they applied equity, inclusion and affirmative action to open opportunities for a number of children from informal settlements.
Some 567 learners from slums got their first choices in national schools. In addition, 314 others under the affirmative action, were placed in national and extra county schools.
“This intervention is in line with President Uhuru Kenyatta’s rallying call that we consider needy and vulnerable children in informal settlements,” said the CS.
The slums identified under this arrangement are in Thika, Nyeri, Kisumu, Nairobi, Mombasa, Nakuru and Eldoret towns.
Prof Magoha mentioned Kimberly Grace who scored 368 marks from Mji wa Huruma slums as one of the candidates from slums to get a national slot. The 14-year-old will join The Kenya High school.
The CS said 1,225,502 KCPE 2021 candidates were selected to join 9,200 public schools under the 100 per cent transition policy.
As the learners prepare to join Form One on May 3, Magoha warned principals not to send away students over fees.
He instructed schools to adhere to the fees guidelines showing how much parents are required to pay per category of school.
“People have lost jobs due to Covid-19. If somebody comes with half the fees take it and admit the child, then arrange for the remaining fees to be paid,” said the CS. He also instructed principals to avoid listing unnecessary items for parents to purchase.
The major challenge the ministry could face is ensuring all candidates join secondary school and do not drop out.
Among the challenges highlighted by Prof Magoha were the effects of insecurity in some parts of the country, teenage pregnancies, long distances to school, and poverty, heightened by Covid-19.
“I direct officials to file accurate daily returns on the status of reporting to schools to ensure we rely on data and evidence as we track those candidates who, for one reason or the other, will lag behind during the reporting period,” said the CS.
Prof Magoha noted that inadequate capacities in particular counties poses a challenge during placement.
He cited Nairobi, Kajiado, Narok and Mombasa as counties with high candidature against low absorption capacities.