More than 20,000 candidates who sat last year’s Kenya Certificate of Primary Education examination have been selected to join 103 national schools out of the 105, the Education Cabinet Secretary has said.
However, the remaining two national schools will not admit students due to logistical problems as some newly upgraded schools failed to get the required number of students.
Last year, more than 17,175 candidates joined the 78 national schools with 4,294 candidates coming from private schools.
It was also not clear how many slots will go to private schools due to affirmative action and the ministry did not indicate the number, unlike in previous years.
However, a source indicated that about 25 per cent will go to private schools.
It was not clear what the cut-off marks were for those joining national schools.
Education Cabinet Secretary Jacob Kaimenyi said 695,684 out of 880,486 candidates will take up secondary school places while the rest will join youth polytechnics.
In a speech read on his behalf by Education Principal Secretary Bellio Kipsang during the launch of the Form One selection at the Kenya Institute of Curriculum Development in Nairobi, Prof Kaimenyi said 996 candidates will join special schools, 66,497 will join extra-county schools (previously provincial), 128,049 candidates will go to county schools and 434,048 to district or sub-county schools.
Prof Kaimenyi added that 44,078 will join private schools across the country. He advised the 195,000 candidates who will miss Form One places to join youth polytechnics, which represent 22 per cent.
He said the selection is set to increase the transition rate from 77 per cent in 2014 to 78 per cent in 2015.
“Although there is an increase in the number of Form One places this year, the gains are suppressed by candidature rise,” Prof Kaimenyi said.
The Education Cabinet Secretary underscored the need for enhanced investment in education and asked private partners to redouble their effort in providing complementary learning opportunities for children, particularly at the secondary level.
EQUITY AND FAIRNESS
He said the selection of candidates is guided by the constitutional principles of equity and fairness.
“We have over the years endeavoured to develop a system that guarantees every Kenyan child a fair chance of placement,” he said.
The CS said that the selection was based on clearly defined parameters that include merit, candidate’s choice and district quota computed on the basis of the sub-county’s candidature strength.
“It is a process where every child, irrespective of their socio-economic background, is assured of a placement informed by the above parameters. Whereas the present selection has immensely benefited from lessons learned from past practice, it is our intention to build on the gains of past selection to perfect current and future selection processes,” said Prof Kaimenyi.
However, Kenya Private Schools Association Chief Executive Officer Peter Ndoro said the union is studying the number of slots allocated to private schools before making an official statement.
“The ministry has talked about affirmative action but we hope it is an affirmative action that enabled a needy child to access education and not one that discriminates candidates based on the schools that they attended,” Mr Ndoro said.
Prof Kaimenyi said enrolment in primary schools has risen from 9.8 million in 2012 to 10.2 million students this year, while in secondary schools it rose from 1.9 million in 2012 to 2.1 million.