Education Ministry has moved to affirm that the system used in Form One selection is accurate, amid growing concern over placements for quite a number of this year’s Kenya Certificate of Primary Education (KCPE) exam top achievers.
Director of Basic Education Habat Abdi assured yesterday that the ministry largely used a digitised process, which was not only fair and accurate but also efficient.
Speaking during the launch of Form One selection for extra county schools in Thika High, Abdi urged parents and students to stop complaining they were not admitted to schools of their choice.
He explained that many students made similar choices, which made it difficult for the ministry to admit them all. Parents have since been encouraged to let their children join schools they have been placed instead of discouraging them.
“For instance, more than 7,000 pupils selected Alliance High as the school of their choice but it can only accommodate 380 students. There is no difference between a national school in Nakuru and another in Thika because they all offer the same quality, have almost similar equipment and learning facilities,” he said.
He made the remarks, as it emerged that a considerable number of candidates still prefer to join the ‘traditional’ national schools as opposed to those upgraded over time.
Currently, some of the January 2019 entrants are not happy with the national schools they have been admitted to.
Initially there were 18 national schools, which were held in high regard before the government stepped in to upgrade more in a bid to accommodate more students. A number of top achievers are disappointed that their desire to join dream schools has been denied, with others saying they are not even conversant with performance of schools they have been placed.
Others are not comfortable with the distance they will have to cover to get to schools they have been admitted to.
But even so, last year’s Kenya Certificate of Secondary Education (KCSE) results tell a different story. For instance, an extra county, Sing’ore Girls trounced academic giants to emerge the best countrywide last year. It was followed by a private school, Light Academy while academic giants Alliance Girls and Alliance High School came third and fourth respectively.
And in Kericho, parents, teachers, schools’ managements and elected leaders in Soin-Sigowet constituency claimed candidates who scored 400 marks and above have been left out from those joining national schools.
They sought an explanation why more than 50 candidates from both the private and public schools who attained over 400 marks from the area had not been placed in national schools yet selection for that category has already been completed.
Kenya National Union of Teachers (Knut) Kericho branch chairman David Rono led other education stakeholders in vowing to camp at the ministry offices until concrete answers were provided. But Kericho County Director of Education (CDE), Fred Osewe said the issue would be resolved soonest and called for patience among parents and candidates affected.
Elsewhere, a candidate Emmanuel Cherutich was shocked when he found he had been admitted to Kapsabet School for the Deaf, yet he is not among persons living with disabilities.
Having scored 365 marks at St Mary’s Primary School in Mogotio, Baringo county, Cherutich was confident of achieving his dream of joining Kapsabet Boys High School. But his dream now hangs in the balance considering the limited slots available in the school. – Compiled by Irene Githinji, Philip Yegon, Noah Cheploen, Winstone Chiseremi, Mathew Ndung’u