Form One students started reporting to schools across the country yesterday as administrators intensified checks to ensure 100 per cent transition.
Meanwhile, Education CS Amina Mohamed ruled out the possibility of admission letters being issued outside the National Education Management Information System (Nemis), saying such letters are invalid.
She said all letters must be downloaded from the online system and asked principals to use the proper channel to transfer students.
“No student should be admitted outside the ministry’s online process,” she said at State House Girls School in Nairobi after inspecting admissions at the school.
She said the ministry requires principals to admit and capture students' details on Nemis.
Ms Mohamed said after Friday, when all students are expected to have reported to school, the captured details will enable the ministry know who has not reported.
"So far, we have not received any reports of anomalies. The process is going on smoothly, and any challenges reported will be addressed by the ministry,” she said.
In a bid to ensure 100 per cent transition in Meru, chiefs and their assistants have been asked to give admission status reports in two weeks.
County Commissioner Wilfred Nyagwanga said they have involved administrators, children's offices and primary school heads in tracking the more than 34,000 children who sat for the Kenya Certificate of Primary Education (KCPE) in the county last year to ensure that they transition to high school.
In Kirinyaga and Embu counties, many students, who appeared exhausted after travelling long distances, started streaming into schools as early as 7am, accompanied by their parents.
"I'm happy because I have been admitted to the school that was my first choice," a Form One student at Kerugoya Boys High School said.
And many parents were excited that their children had been admitted.
"Our responsibility now is to pay school fees despite the economic hardships prevailing in the country," a parent at Kieni Girls Secondary School said.
In Nyeri County, teachers assured parents that the new students will be helped to fit in with their colleagues.
However, stakeholders faulted the Ministry of Education for barring principals from admitting students directly. The Kenya National Union of Teachers (Knut) Nyeri Branch Secretary-General Zack Mathenge said they don't support the Nemis system for student admission.
“We expect the government to allow some leeway on admissions to allow principals to admit students,” he said.
In Tana River County, Form One turnout was generally low. For instance, Hola Boys, a national school, admitted only four students although it expects 170. Principal Stanley Moto said they expect more students in the course of the week, as has been the trend.
He attributed the low turnout to high poverty levels in the county, which makes it difficult for many parents to get the necessary cash before the reporting deadlines.
At Matungulu Girls High School in Machakos County, 200 students were admitted to Form One. Principal Lucy Kariuki said admissions started at 6am, and involved inspection of personal items and issuing of school uniforms, among other things.
Meanwhile, leaders in Kajiado County have backed a school-based admission system and faulted the centralised computer-based placement.
Led by Governor Joseph ole Lenku, the leaders said they were shocked by the “admission” of students from the area to day schools in Northeastern Kenya.
Mr Lenku said his government has invested heavily in infrastructural development in public secondary schools, but found that local students were not being admitted to the county schools.
In Kisii, most schools conducted the admissions. But there confusion at Nduru Girls when parents who had brought their children were sent away until today (Tuesday).
"I thought the exercise would be conducted today in all schools countrywide," said Mary Moraa, a parent. At Nyabururu Girls High school, the exercise began smoothly, with the more than 400 students expected turning up. Principal Joyce Orioki said they had not encountered any challenges. "We are keen to verify the documents brought to us but all those we have received are genuine," she added.
In Kakamega County, Kakamega High School was expecting 200 students. Principal Gerald Orina said the online system had made admissions much easier, adding that he expected to admit 280 students before the Friday deadline.”
Mr John Kuira Warutere, the principal of Chavakhali Boys High School in Vihiga County, said the school has 502 Form One slots but the government had selected only 480 students.
In Nairobi, Kenya High School Chief Principal Florah Mulatya said the process was smooth.
At Moi Girls High School in Eldoret, Uasin Gishu County, there were long queues as students waited to be admitted.
Reporting by Faith Nyamai, Shaban Makokha, Caroline Mundu, Benson Ayienda, David Muchui, George Munene, Irene Mugo, Stephen Oduor, Agewa Magut, Onyango k’Onyango and Edith Chepngeno