New national school is toast of the nation

Wednesday February 29 2012

By DAVID ADUDA [email protected]

Nyanza’s Maranda High School was declared the top performer in last year’s Form Four examination, toppling big names that have dominated the tables in the past 22 years.

The best candidate in the KCSE exam released on Wednesday was K. Nalianya Job of St Peter’s Seminary in Mukumu, Western Province. He had a mean grade of 87.13613. Second and third positions went to Alliance High School’s Victor Gitau Gikonyo and Emmanuel Hans Odhiambo, who obtained performance indices of 86.97342 and 86.96484 respectively.

Chenang’at Lonyangapuo of Alliance Girls was the best female candidate, but was placed in fourth position overall with a performance index of 86.92522.

Following in the fifth position was Sidney Rema Oirere of Maranda. Others in the top ranks were: Brian Ruhiu Gacigua of Starehe Boys Centre (6), Faith Aseta of Moi Girls’ High School, Eldoret (7), Alex Murimi Kariuki of Alliance High School (8), Tyson Odhiambo Manyala of Maranda (9) and Buyaki Tatania Oisebe of Precious Blood Riruta (10).

Put together, Maranda and Alliance High School scooped half of the top 10 places.

A school with modest facilities but highly motivated students and teachers, Maranda obtained a mean grade of A- with a performance index of 11.2872, superseding last year’s best of 11.2570. It was followed by Alliance High School, which also had a mean grade of A- but a performance index of 11.1455.

Alliance Girls came third with a performance index of 11.0822 while Starehe Boys Centre, whose fortunes took a nosedive in 2010, made a comeback to the top ranks, taking the fourth slot.

Others in sequence were: Mang’u (5), Moi Girls’ High School, Eldoret (6), Kenya High School (7), Maryhill Girls High School (8), Pangani Girls (9) and Starehe Girls Centre (10).

Out of the top best 20 schools, seven were recently upgraded to national schools, an indication that they have what it takes to play in the big league. These were Maranda (1), Pangani Girls (9), Friends School Kamusinga (12), Kapsabet Boys (15), Karima Girls (16), and Moi High Mbiruri (18).

The schools were classified into four: national, county, district and private. Alliance High School was first among the national schools, followed by Alliance Girls, Starehe Boys Centre, Mang’u, Moi Girls’ High School Eldoret, Kenya High, Maryhill School, Starehe Girls, Nairobi School and Loreto High School, Limuru.

Maranda led the county schools and was followed by Molo Academy, Precious Blood Riruta, Pangani Girls, Bahati Girls, Precious Blood, Kilungu, St Joseph’s Rapogi, Friends School Kamusinga, Kibabii and Bishop Gatimu Ngandu. Among the district schools, Kagwe in Kiambu led the pack and was followed by Karanger, Mayori, Nguviu, Longisa, Elburgon, Amabuko, Kamagut, St James Namamba and St Francis Girls.

Moi High School Kabarak, a perennial top performer and which produced the best candidate in 2010, was the best among private schools. Second was Strathmore and third was Wamy. Others were Mary Mother of Grace Secondary School, Kianda, Anestar Boys, St Mary’s Boy’s, Kisima, Maasai High School and Sacho.

It was a reversal of fortunes. Alliance High School topped in 2010 with a performance index of 11.2570 while Maranda was placed fourth and had a performance index of 10.5578. Then, Maranda sent a strong signal of its desire to top the charts by producing the best result in Kiswahili. For that performance, the Nation Media Group awarded it a cash prize.

Maranda had 261 candidates and 97 obtained a mean grade of A, 104 had A-, 42 had a B+, 2 B- and one C+. The principal, Mr Boaz Owino, attributed the success to hard work, cooperation, discipline and to God. “We fear and believe in God and He is the one who has made us what we are today,” he said. “We are very happy that we emerged the top and we will work hard to maintain the position.”

Announcing the results at Mitihani House, Education Minister Sam Ongeri was upbeat about improved performance in the exam. The candidates improved performance in 16 out of the 31 subjects on offer at KCSE. Some of the well-done subjects were Kiswahili, maths, biology, physics and geography.

Out of the 411,783 candidates, 1,930 scored grade A, 9,063 grade A- and 16,390 had B+ and cumulatively, 119,658 candidates obtained C+ grade and above, hence qualified for university admission. This compared favourably to 2010 when there were 1566 candidates with A, 8131 with A- , 20868 with B+ and a total of 97,134 with C+ and above. In that year, there were 357,488.

The challenge, though, will be university admission, where only a third of the qualifiers get places. Last year, the public universities admitted 32,000 of 97,134 qualified candidates.

There was marked decline in key subjects such as English, which had a mean score of 36.42 compared to 38.90 in the previous year. Not only is English the medium of instruction in schools, it is a national language, and since it is compulsory, it counts in admission to university or post-school training.

Chemistry, also compulsory, declined from 24.91 in 2010 to score a mean of 23.66.

Prof Ongeri directed that measures be put in place to arrest the decline in English and humanities, which play a major role in a nation’s life.

“I am particularly disturbed by the drop in performance in English which has a downward trend for the last three years,” he said. “It demonstrates that Sheng is having a major impact on the language and we must put in place interventions to stop the poor performance in the subject.”

Decline in chemistry

Exam cheating continued to consume the minds of educationists and parents alike. In total, results of 2927 candidates in 154 centres were cancelled for cheating. This was a marked rise from 534 in 2010 and 1,711 in 2009.

Cheating took place in 36 out of 47 counties of which Nyeri, Turkana, Laikipia, Busia, Taita Taveta, Tana River, Nyandarua, Machakos, West Pokot, Nyamira and Trans Nzoia were clean.

Garissa with 18 centres, Nairobi 15, Mandera 14, Mombasa and Wajir 8 each, Kisii 7, Migoria and Makueni 6 each topped the list of shame.

Among the affected schools were Thurdibuoro, Kanga and Sawagongo, erstwhile top performing school in Nyanza, Allidina Visram in Mombasa and Olekejuado in Kajiado.

Prof Ongeri expressed concern that the vice was mutating into different forms every year. Last year, there were cases of candidates refusing to be frisked or confined during practicals while others even attempted to fight supervisors.