Choos­ing only 15 ‘elite’ schools ru­ined chances of 1m pupils

Teach­ers and par­ents told to guide chil­dren on school se­lec­tion


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More than a mil­lion Kenya Cer­tifi­cate of Pri­mary Ed­u­ca­tion ex­am­i­na­tion can­di­dates scram­bled for slots in 15 na­tional schools, ru­in­ing their chances of join­ing their pre­ferred in­sti­tu­tions, a study shows.

Con­fi­den­tial data from the Form One se­lec­tion panel at the Min­istry of Ed­u­ca­tion shows that out of the total 1,052,364 can­di­dates who sat the ex­am­i­na­tion in Novem­ber, some 1,008,028 chose the 15 schools as their first choice, leav­ing only 44,336 can­di­dates to fight for slots in the re­main­ing 88 na­tional schools.

With the 15 elite schools able to ab­sorb only 5,512 pupils who scored 400 marks and above, it meant the re­main­ing 1,002,516 can­di­dates were to set­tle for the “lesser” na­tional schools in the or­der of their pref­er­ence.

The schools that at­tracted a ma­jor­ity of the can­di­dates in­clude Al­liance Boys, Mang’u, Le­nana, Nairobi, Starehe Boys, Maseno, Kapsa­bet Boys and Maranta.

Oth­ers were Al­liance Girls, Kenya High, Pan­gani Girls, Limuru Girls, Moi Girls El­doret, Mary Hill and Nakuru Girls.

The pol­icy was that any pupil who at­tained 400 marks and above would au­to­mat­i­cally be se­lected to a na­tional school, in the or­der of the can­di­date’s pref­er­ence.

It means that those who missed their first choice na­tional schools due to one rea­son or an­other had to set­tle for the sec­ond, third or fourth choices.

Pan­gani Girls, which at­tracted 110,835 can­di­dates, the high­est num­ber to pick one school as their first choice, had only 336 slots avail­able.

The choice of Pan­gani Girls as the most pre­ferred school could have been in­formed by the fact that it pro­duced the best can­di­date coun­try­wide as well as two other can­di­dates among the top 10 in last year’s Kenya Cer­tifi­cate of Se­condary Ed­u­ca­tion ex­am­i­na­tion.

Al­liance Girls in Ki­ambu County, ranked third na­tion­ally in the 2017 KCSE ex­am­i­na­tion, at­tracted 92,067 ap­pli­ca­tions, against a ca­pac­ity of 384.

Kapsa­bet had the high­est num­ber of ap­pli­ca­tions in the boys’ cat­e­gory at 62,383 against 432 slots.

Mang’u re­ceived 86,976 ap­pli­ca­tions but had space for just 384.

Maranta High will ad­mit the high­est num­ber of stu­dents at 528 fol­lowed by Maseno School at 480 and Kapsa­bet Boys at 432.

The re­port comes against wide­spread com­plaints by par­ents and can­di­dates who scored im­pres­sive re­sults but missed out on their pre­ferred schools.

Mr Bernard Otieno, a teacher, said his daugh­ter who scored 402 marks has been se­lected to join Mbooni Girls against her pre­ferred choice of Kenya High.

“She was not placed in any of the four na­tional schools she se­lected,” Mr Otieno said.

Hun­dreds of par­ents un­happy with the schools their chil­dren were placed are al­ready look­ing for places in other in­sti­tu­tions, the

has learnt. Tech­nocrats in­volved in the se­lec­tion and who spoke to the

blamed par­ents and pupils for com­pro­mis­ing their chances by con­cen­trat­ing on “pres­ti­gious” schools.

“Twenty-eight can­di­dates in one sub-county ap­plied to join Al­liance Girls and all qual­i­fied but only five were se­lected. The re­main­ing will ob­vi­ously com­plain,” he said.

An­other of­fi­cial said par­ents and teach­ers should be sen­si­tised in or­der to guide pupils prop­erly.

Some pupils were se­lected to join spe­cial schools yet they are not dis­abled.

The min­istry will start re­view­ing their cases to­mor­row.

Kenya Se­condary School Heads As­so­ci­a­tion chair­man Kahi Indimuli said can­di­dates tend to pick a few in­sti­tu­tions be­cause of their his­tory of good per­for­mance.

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