Girls sweep top slots in KCSE examination

Irene Githinji @gitshee

Girls registered remarkable performance in this year’s Kenya Certificate of Secondary Education (KCSE) examination compared to their male counterparts, producing six out of the top 10 candidates. Karimi Naomi Kawira of Pangani Girls’ was the best overall, with a mean grade of 87.011, followed by Sharon Chepchumba of Moi Girls’, Eldoret, with a score of 86.830.

Kamau Brian Maina of Alliance High School, who garnered 86.757, came third, followed by Odero Donatta of Lenana School with 86.561 while Harriet Mueke of Mary Hill Girls’ came fifth with a grade of 85.956. In position six was Brian Ongiri of Kanga High school followed by Pangani’s Moraa Mong’ina and Emily Mwatate.

The ninth slot went to Wahome Wanyiri of Moi Girls’ Eldoret, as Maranda High School’s Omondi wrapped up the top ten list. Education Cabinet secretary Fred Matiang’i released the results yesterday, just three days after marking was completed in all the 25 examination centres. Students can access their results by mobile phones sending their index numbers to 22252.

Matiang’i said results from 10 secondary schools had been withheld over exam irregularities but declined to divulge the details, saying a detailed report will be issued on January 18 after further analysis of the students’ scripts.

The CS warned teachers and schools involved in exam malpractices, saying they risked being de-registered. He cited a school in Rift Valley that is under investigations saying “it will be an example to others”. Five candidates caught engaging in malpractices were disqualified even before the examination season was over.

“Some examination thieves who, having lost their opportunities for cheating like in previous years, used all means to access examination materials in 2017. Some unscrupulous teachers also relayed prepared notes to candidates in examination centres in a desperate attempt to give candidates an unfair advantage,” said the CS.

“I am happy to report that most of these attempts came to naught since many of the masterminds were stopped by our ruthless and vigilant officials. A school in Rift Valley was trying to mess the examinations, the principal even took their cell phones and put them in a bucket of water himself to hide evidence.”

Overall, 142 candidates obtained a mean grade of A compared to last year’s 141 while the number of those who scored A- (minus) declined from last year’s 4,645 to 2,714 this year. Some 10,975 students scored B+ while 17,216 scored B plain.

The CS expressed disappointment over the decline in the number of students who met university entry requirement of C+, being 70,073 compared to 88,929 last year. Matiang’i said female candidates performed better than males in six out of the subjects offered while the male candidates performed better than females in 23 of the subjects offered.

Female candidates did better in English, CRE, Home Science, Art and Design and Electricity. Significant improvement was recorded in 13 subjects compared to five last year with English, Mathematics and Geography being the most improved. Pangani Girls’ was the most improved school. Others mentioned included Alliance Girls’ High School and Kenya High School.

There was also the return of Maranda High School, which produced the number 10 student. “Overall, female candidates performed better than males and in six subjects they were way better than the males.

The bulk of schools that have done well are girls’,” said Matiang’i. Some 615,773 candidates sat for this year’s KCSE in 9,701 centres compared to 574,125 last year.

Of these, 1,407 candidates with special needs sat for this year’s exam, out of which 513 were physically impaired. The CS commended 15 counties that had more female candidates than male compared to 11 last year. The counties are Taita Taveta, Nyandarua, Nyeri, Kirinyaga, Murang’a, Kiambu, Machakos, Kitui, Meru, Makueni, Tharaka Nithi, Laikipia, Elgeyo Marakwet, Vihiga and Kisumu.

And as part of bringing reforms in the education sector, Matiang’i said he had received instructions from President Uhuru Kenyatta to include three million secondary school students into the National Hospital Insurance Fund (NHIF) programme effective January. The CS and Kenya National Examinations Council led by chairman Prof George Magoha briefed the President at State House prior to release of the results.

The President directed Matiang’i and Magoha to ensure the reforms are now a culture so that the achievements made in the last few years were maintained. The President also asked Teachers Service Commission to reward principals, schools and subject teachers responsible for continued high performance. ICT Cabinet secretary Joe Mucheru said plans are underway to avail exam certificates online in a strategy to create transparency.

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