Many candidates are still failing to score grades that can allow them to join middle level colleges despite sustained government efforts to make the curriculum lighter.
An analysis of the 2008 Kenya Certificate of Secondary Education (KCSE) examination results released on Tuesday shows that a majority of candidates is unlikely to be admitted to marketable diploma courses such as medical and teacher training.
The results show that less than half of the 305,000 candidates attained grades that can help them join diploma colleges and universities. The results help to expose the masked reality that many of the candidates get extremely low grades.
The poor show augurs badly for the reforms meant to reduce the workload of the burdensome 8-4-4 system. Under the reforms, the Education ministry has reduced examinable subjects from 10 in 1989 to seven currently.
It has also seen reorganisation of content in most of the subjects, with the aim of making learning more focused and lean. According to the results, only 106,760 scored mean grades of C plain and above. A grade C plain is the least one needs to pursue a diploma course.
Some 7,067 failed flat with an E grade, meaning they scored about one point in each subject. It means such candidates scored just seven points from a maximum of 84 from all the subjects.
Also scoring poorly were 42,084 candidates who scored D- while another 53,608 had a D plain. An even bigger number, 48,953, scored grade D+, just enough to make them gain entry into certificate courses, which nowadays end up being dominated by people with higher grades due to lack of vacancies in most diploma courses.
Conversely, there has always been less than 1,000 candidates scoring grade A plain, the highest score. In the 2008 KCSE, there were only 489 candidates who obtained grade A plain down from 806 the previous year.