Only 39 out of 1,293 students in Isiolo County who sat last year’s Kenya Certificate of Secondary Education (KCSE) exam will join universities after scoring a mean grade of C+ and above as education standards in the region continue to decline.
But records show an increase in the number of those going to university compared to 2017 where only 26 out of 1,259 students in the county managed to reach the cut-off mark.
The education standards in the region are poor with some of the private schools even scoring a mean grade of less than 2.0 in last year’s KCSE exam.
Only two students scored a B (plain), 12 had B- while 25 scored C+.
There were 139 E’s while 503 students scored D-.
Students from at least 31 out of 36 secondary schools, both public and private, successfully sat the exam and received their results but the Kenya National Examinations Council (KNEC) withheld results for Kinna Secondary School.
An education officer who declined to be named said political and school leadership forms part of the reasons for poor performance in education in Isiolo.
The officer disclosed that local politicians prevent transfers of principals who have served in one school for long and non-performers at the expense of hundreds of students.
Some of the headteachers, he revealed, had not been promoted on merit while some school administrations are do not supervise curriculum implementation.
“A number of school principals are also perpetual absentees, prompting teachers to go to class at their own will or half-prepared hence the learning process taking place in our institutions is below average,” said the officer.
At the same time, the vast region which covers approximately 25,336 kilo metres square does not have enough education and quality assurance officers.
For instance, the vast Merti Sub-County has only one education officer.
Currently, the whole county has five quality assurance officers who mostly do administrative work.
Most parents also seem not know that they have a role to play in educating their children apart from paying fees, due to cultural inhibitions and illiteracy among some of them.
“Some parents are totally not in control and without [cooperation between the] child, teacher and parent we cannot talk about performance,” the official added.
The poor performance has also been attributed to lack of self-drive from the students and unmotivated teachers who do not have the urge to perform.
Most secondary schools in the region, especially day schools, also lack laboratories.
Isiolo South MP Abdi Koropu Tepo blamed poor pre-primary foundation and understaffing in rural areas for the wanting education standards, saying teachers are overstaffed in urban centres.
The MP, who has set up three new secondary school in his vast constituency, said current political leaders in the region have agreed not to interfere with the transfer of principals and teachers.
The schools he has established are Algani Girls, Garfasa and Biliqi Nuur.
“We (leaders) have engaged the Teachers Service Commission (TSC) and we have agreed to convene a stakeholders’ meeting to address the poor education standards. The county government has tried through streamlining the early childhood development education but there is still poor foundation from pre-primary which replicates during transition to secondary level,” said the MP.
To reverse the disturbing trend, education officials and political leaders from the county last year organised an education day which will be marked annually.