The traditional academic giants maintained a tight grip on the top positions in Form Four examinations listing, carrying the flag for the Mountain region.
Alliance High School, Alliance Girls, Maryhill Girls in Thika and Mang’u were the toast of the Mountain region, registering a high number of candidates with grade A in the Kenya Certificate of Secondary Education (KCSE) examination, whose results were released on Wednesday by Education Cabinet Secretary George Magoha.
Alliance High School posted 48 As and was followed by neighbouring Alliance Girls, 27, Maryhill Girls 25 and Mang’u 23. Cumulatively, the four schools, all in Kiambu County, had 124 As out of the total 627 As recorded in this year’s exams.
Overall, Kenya High School was the top school nationally, registering 76 straight As in tests where candidates recorded greatly improved performance and cheating declined remarkably proving that the strict regulations are paying dividends.
Kenya High also produced the best female candidate, Barasa Maryanne Njeri who had grade A of 87.087 with a performance index of 87.087.
The Deputy Principal in charge of Academics at Kenya High School, Ms Jane Faith Nyasia, attributed the impressive performance to hard work.
"The girls worked hard; the teachers worked hard and the parents, through the PTA, as well as the Board of Governance all did their best," she told the Nation.
In the national ranking list, Kapsabet Boys produced the overall best candidate, Buluma Tony Wabuko, and followed by Barasa Maryanne Njeri of The Kenya High who had grade of 87.087 with a performance index of 87.087. In third position was Aboge David Odhiambo of Kapsabet Boys, A, with performance index of 87.080, Anthony Owuor Ochieng of Maseno School, A of 87.000, Mathuri Natasha Wawira of The Kenya High A of 86.961, Kizito Ezra Sikuta Moi High School, Kabarak had an A of 86.960 and Long’ali M. Chepengat of Alliance Girls, A of 86.924.
The others among the top 10 were: Ndathi Hellen Njoki of Moi Forces Academy, Lanet, A with a performance index of 86.99 and Laura Chelngat Ruto of St Brigit Kimini, A, of 86.853.
Last year, the best candidate was Otieno Irine Juliet of Pangani Girls who obtained grade A with a performing index of 87.644 while in 2017, it was Kirimi Naomi Kawira, also of Pangani Girls, who obtained A with a performing index of 87.011. But this year, Pangani did not present candidates among the top 10.
The Kenya High School that has consistently demonstrated sterling performance posted 76 straight As, the highest from a single school in the past four years. In second place was Kapsabet Boys that had 49 As, Alliance High School 48, Moi High School Kabarak 30 and Alliance Girls 27. The other top performing schools were Maryhill Girls with 25 As, Maseno School, Nairobi School and Mangu each had 23 and Moi Girls, Eldoret 21.
Alliance Girls Principal Virginia Gitonga, in an interview, was upbeat that the hardwork of the candidates, teachers and parents had paid off. The school has consistently produced top grades under the new regime of tight examination administration. At Kapsabet, the principal, Mr Kipchumba Maiyo, commended the students and teachers for sterling performance. “We thank God for the results. I attribute this results to the commitment of the teachers and schools board and discipline and hard work of the students as well as support from parents and the entire community,” said Mr Kipchumba Maiyo, the school’s principal.
Announcing the results, Prof Magoha noted that there was marked improvement in the exams. A total of 627 candidates scored grade, double last years, which was 315. Similarly, the number of candidates who qualified to join universities shot up from 90,377 in 2018 to 125,746.
A total of 5,796 candidates got grade A-, 13,366 B+, 24,478 B, 35,340 B- and 46,139, C+.
Increased number of those who scored grade C+ gives a new lease of life to universities whose fortunes had been dwindling rapidly in the past four years as numbers of qualifies took a nosedive. Hard hit were private universities who had to scramble for a few a few students who opted to join them as public universities took in all the qualifiers.
Prof George Magoha, observed that the strict administration of examinations has created sanity in performance. Candidates were now able to work on their own and score what they deserved unlike in the past when they were drilled and spoon-fed to pass exams. Since 2016, the Kenya National Examinations Council (Knec) and the Education Ministry have consistently enforced tough regulations that have seen cheating drop drastically and schools forced to do the right thing, teach and guide instead of drilling candidates.
Prof Magoha, who was previously the chairman of the council until his appointment to head Education Ministry early this year said: “Teachers are now preparing candidates better and learners are concentrating in their studies knowing well the playing ground is level.”
He added: “Our enhanced measures of fighting examination cheating in schools have succeeded. I wish to state that we have now stamped out overt cases of cheating that were rampant in our education system.”
A total of 667,222 candidates sat the examinations comprising 355,782 boys and 341,440 girls, representing a gender ratio of 51:49. But an increasingly emerging trend is the high enrolment in some counties compared to boys. At least 17 counties had more girls than boys, including Meru, Vihiga, Elgeyo Marakwet, Nyandarua, Tharaka Nithi, Kisumu. Others were Uasin Gishu, Murang’a, Machakos, Kitui, Taita Taveta, Makueni, Kirinyaga, Kakamega, Kwale, and Nandi.
An analysis of the results showed that national schools produced the bulk of A grades, 495, while county schools had 61 and sub county schools four.