The Form One placement fate of 8, 255 pupils out of the 1, 083, 566 learners, who sat the 2019 KCPE, lies in the hands of President Uhuru Kenyatta, Education Cabinet Secretary Prof. George Magoha said on Monday while releasing the Form One selection data at the Kenya Institute of Curriculum Development (KICD).
This comes on the back of multiple assurances by the State that it is committed to ensuring 100 per cent primary-to-secondary education transition in the country.
The Education minister said 1,075,201 candidates had been placed in various secondary schools countrywide, out of the 1,083,456 who sat this year’s KCPE exam, leaving a balance 8,255.
And now, Magoha says those left out of Form One placements are inmates, over-age learners and those who wrote the exam while in refugee camps. The CS says only President Kenyatta can advise on whether their education can be furthered, or not.
“The number [1,075,201] is after excluding inmates, over-age and those in refugee camps. I want to affirm that I will consult the president with regard to the over-age students and if he advises that they should be able to join schools, why not,” said Magoha on Monday.
And like last year, the minister ruled out a second selection and has advised learners to report to schools they have been selected to in January.
“Admitting all these candidates will complete our plan in line with 100 per cent transition from primary to secondary education as required by the Constitution on provision of free and compulsory basic education to every Kenyan child,” said the minister.
Magoha announced that 33,009 candidates had been selected to join the 103 national schools, 184,816 are set to join extra-county schools, 188,454 will go to county schools while some 777 special needs candidates have been placed in their choices of regular schools.
The bulk of admissions will, however, be at the sub-county schools, which are expected to accommodate 669,145 candidates.
The Kenya High School, Alliance High School, Mang’u and Alliance Girls are among national schools that took up the lion’s share of top candidates in the 2019 KCPE exam.
Out of 40 students who scored 432 out of the possible 500 marks, 11 will be joining The Kenya High, followed by Alliance High School (nine), Mang’u and Alliance Girls, with four and three students, respectively.
Other top schools to get some of the best performers are Kapsabet Boys, Lenana School, Maseno School, Maryhill, Friends Kamusinga and Bishop Gatimu Gandu Girls in Nyeri county.
The top candidate, Andy Munyiri Michael, who scored 440 marks, has been selected to join Alliance High School.
“Alliance Boys was the school of my choice and I am really excited that my prayers and wishes have been fulfilled. My academic journey has now commenced on the right note,” he said.
Flavian Onyango, June Jeptoo Koech and Sean Michael Ndung’u, who were the second best having tied with 439 marks, will be joining Alliance Girls, Pangani Girls and Alliance High School, respectively.
Onyango told the People Daily she thanks God that her prayers have been answered and her handwork rewarded.
Now that I am set to join the school of my dream since my childhood, I must remain focused and determined than ever before. I know a lot of challenges lie ahead of me, but with prayers, everything shall be okay,” she said.
On her part, June Jeptoo Koech said she expected to be selected to join either Pangani Girls or Alliance Girls. “To me, I am just excited. I lack words to express my joy,” she said.
As much as the ministry has strictly followed merit and students’ choices, Magoha said there is still a dilemma of thousands of candidates choosing the same school as their first option.
He said the selection process had shown that candidates who considered themselves capable of scoring high marks in KCPE had a tendency to select just a few top schools.
However, the top schools that are an envy of many learners, have no capacity to admit them all, a situation that disadvantages those candidates that miss their first choices and are left at the mercy of remaining schools they may not be interested in.
For instance, Pangani Girls received 111, 817 applications this year yet it has a capacity for 336 students, Alliance High with a capacity of 384 received 83,489 applications while Kenya High with 336 slots received 49,727 applications.
Magoha noted that the selection process had also exposed inadequate capacities of secondary schools in some counties such as Nairobi, which had a candidature of 62,973 students and a capacity of 23,613.
Mombasa had 18,989 candidates and a capacity of 5,126, resulting in a shortfall of 13,863 while Kilifi had 34,404 students and a capacity of 10,493.
Owing to this challenge, the minister said the ministry had opted to place learners from these counties to schools in neighbouring counties, even as he urged leaders in the affected counties to provide an enabling environment for establishment and expansion of existing secondary schools.
Overall, skewed choices or unavailability of vacancies in home counties has seen the ministry place 30,000 candidates in schools they had not picked though they reflected their level of performance.
The CS decried failure by some candidates to follow selection guidelines, with some selecting one or two schools against a requirement of 11, thus limiting placement.
“The ministry opted to place such candidates in schools matching their marks and had capacity, even if they had not chosen them. Going forward, head teachers should work with parents to ensure candidates make choices as per the guidelines,” said Magoha.
As far as 2020 fees guidelines are concerned, the CS urged principals and boards of management to ensure funds are used for intended purposes, saying this will help attain the 100 per cent transition, improve the learning environment and ensure the right to education goal is achieved.
Funds are disbursed to schools based on enrolment numbers uploaded by principals on the National Education Management Information System (NEMIS).
The minister said he would lead a nationwide monitoring exercise to ensure students join schools they have been selected to and that fee guidelines are strictly adhered to.
He urged Kenyans to report any cases of learners who fail to join Form One and file any complaints of excessive fees and levies with the ministry, saying relevant action will be taken against affected heads and boards of management.
Learners selected to join national, extra-county and county schools will receive admission letters online via the website www.education.go.ke.
Upon downloading, the learner must present the letter to head teacher of the primary school where they sat their KCPE examination for authentication.
The letter will further be verified by principals of the admitting schools, who will be required to confirm that letters presented to them belong to learners in their selection list. Schools can access their selection lists from the NEMIS platform.
Parents have been advised to use the next four weeks to make necessary arrangements in readiness for the new academic year, with reporting dates for Form One students in all categories of schools set for January 13, 2020, while the last date will be January 17.
The launch of county selection will be done on Wednesday, when lists of extra-county and county schools will be released.