The Ministry of Education has confirmed that all vacancies in national schools have been filled, contrary to an earlier report issued by the Minister.
PS George Godia on Monday clarified the account given by Minister Mutula Kilonzo was issued four days before the last day of receiving the final selection returns.
“By March 29, all the vacancies in the existing national schools had been taken up through reporting of those selected and replacing those who for various reasons, failed to take up their chances in national schools,” he said in a statement to newsrooms.
The PS added that some of the students who failed to take up their chances opted to join private schools.
On March 25, the Education Minister issued a statement on the status of the 2013 Form 1 intake where he indicated that 93 per cent of students admitted to the 78 national schools had duly reported to their respective schools.
This translated into 14,834 pupils reporting to the schools against an expected 16,125 pupils, giving a shortfall of 1,291 who had not reported then.
The PS’s statement read: “The Ministry tracked down students whose parents had challenges in paying fees in the national schools they had been admitted into and instructed heads of those institutions to allow them in school as fees issues was being sorted out through the bursary scheme and other sponsors.”
Mr Godia also came to the defence of the decision to upgrade some schools to national status saying it was based on criteria that considered the track record.
This he said was also in terms of performance in national examinations and quality and quantity of physical facilities necessary for quality teaching and learning.
“Many of these schools have consistently posted a mean score of 9.0 and above, thereby enabling all the students in these schools to secure the minimum grades for university education and other career aspirations,” he said.
Since the upgrading of schools, the ministry granted each newly elevated national school Sh25 million in the 2011/2012 financial year - Sh1.5billion to the schools and the PS said a similar amount has been allocated 2012/2013 financial year.
He said schools use the money, aimed at enhancing the capacity of the school to provide an effective and efficient teaching and learning environment, to expand tuition blocks, boarding facilities, and other physical amenities.
“A good number of the upgraded schools have demonstrated superior performance in national examinations with a notable example of Maranda High School emerging tops in the 2011 KCSE examinations,” Mr Godia said.
According to the Ministry’s analysis of the, 2012 form one reporting trends, parents have embraced the new breed of national schools.
“They have enrolled their children in the schools they were admitted into. The same trend has been replicated during this year’s form one intake,” Mr Godia said.
“The expansion of national schools has helped broaden the mental horizons of students; it will help them accept diversity while at the same time promoting national cohesion that they are likely to witness in their formative years in secondary schools.”
The ministry has appointed a technical committee to work out an in-depth analysis of reporting trends in extra county, county and district schools. The report is scheduled to be out in the next two weeks.