The selection for Form One places begins Tuesday and should be concluded by December 2, Education Cabinet Secretary George Magoha said on Monday.
Speaking while releasing the 2019 Kenya Certificate of Primary Education (KCPE) results, Prof Magoha said that, for the third year running, all the learners who completed their primary level education this year will be admitted into secondary school as the government implements its 100 per cent transition policy.
Prof Magoha said President Uhuru Kenyatta had given “firm instructions to ensure a free, fair and transparent” process.
The 1,088,986 who registered for KCPE had until August 2 to revise their secondary school choices. Prof Magoha has insisted that selection will be done on merit and the ministry will not entertain last-minute changes.
The 100 per cent transition policy, which started last year, has been fraught with challenges, especially regarding infrastructure and staffing.
The most affected are day secondary schools in rural areas. The policy was one of Jubilee Party’s main campaign promises before the 2017 General Election. Candidates select 11 schools in various categories.
In collaboration with external partners, the government has set aside Sh8 billion for the expansion of infrastructure in 110 sub-counties in 30 counties that are deemed disadvantaged. The government will award 9,000 scholarships to deserving learners in the 30 counties, Prof Magoha said.
President Kenyatta has directed the ministry to extend the scholarships to learners in slums in urban areas. The CS said the ministry would come up with a fair formula for awarding the scholarships.
This year, the Teachers Service Commission (TSC) employed 5,000 teachers to plug the shortage but the number still falls short.
Last month, the CEO Nancy Macharia announced 10,000 internship vacancies to ease the burden on school boards of management.
More teachers are periodically hired to replace those who leave the service through natural attrition.
Since 2017, the government has also been supplying textbooks directly to schools, a departure from the previous model where principals would buy the books using money deposited in school accounts.
The new model has greatly succeeded in ensuring a 1:1 student to book ratio, though schools have complained that they were not given the opportunity to select books of their choice.
In 2015, the government developed tough guidelines on Form One selection. The 103 national schools were grouped into four clusters, with candidates required to pick only one school from each cluster.
The 18 schools considered more prestigious were put in the third cluster, meaning no candidate can select any two of them.
A recent report by Auditor-General Edward Ouko revealed that the 85 national schools that were upgraded were not attracting students.
“The continued pressure on the original national schools was attributed to low reporting rate in the upgraded schools. An analysis shows that 13 out of 16 newly upgraded schools could not attract even a half of the students selected and in some cases only 3 per cent reported,” the report says.