A majority of the top schools in Nyanza posted much improved Kenya Certificate of Secondary Education examination results this year compared to last year.
An analysis of the results released on Wednesday shows 14 of the top 20 schools posted higher mean grades, with Maseno School leading the pack with a mean score of 9.09, up from 8.6 in 2018.
Maranda, which has become Maseno’s arch-rival, gave a good account of itself with a mean of 8.9, up from 8.4 last year.
Significantly, the school has more than 600 students qualifying for university admission, the highest number in the region.
It had 19 As and a total enrolment of 705 candidates. Maseno, which emerged in position seven nationally, had 23 As.
Other schools with a remarkable improvement this year are Agoro Sare with a mean score of 8.8, up from 8.6, Kiage Tumaini with 8.6 from 8, Asumbi Girls 8.5 up from 7.8, Mbita High 8.4 from 7.4 and Kisii High, 8.3 from 7.6.
Others are Nyambaria with 8 against 6.8, Kisumu Girls with 7.8 from 7.5, St Peter’s Nyakemincha with 7.8 from 6.9, Homa Bay High with 7.7 from 7.5, Nyabururu with 7.5 up from 5.7, St Mary’s Yala with 7.4 from 7 and St Charles Lwanga with 7.6 up from 6.7 last year.
Some of the schools which dropped their mean scores are Kanga High, Orero, Ramba, Kisumu Boys, Riokindo Girls and Riokindo Boys.
Among the schools with a notable performance decline was Orero Boys in Homa Bay County, which registered an aggregate 7.8 from the previous score of 9.4134 in 2018.
Then, the school topped Nyanza and sent all the 283 candidates to university after attaining minimum C+ (plus) and above.
Last year, it emerged ninth nationally, beating giants like Maseno, Maranda, Kisii High School and Kanga from Migori County.
St Joseph’s Rapogi Boys in Migori County also posted a decline in performance from 8.22 to 7.2148. Even so, it was still the second best in the county.
In 2018, Rapogi managed to beat their academic arch-rival Kanga High School by emerging top in Migori County after attaining 8.22 against Kanga’s 7.4.
But Kanga has turned the tables after attaining 8.717 this year.
While St Francis Rang’ala Girls achieved an improved mean score of 6.8 in this year’s KCSE results compared to 6.17 in 2018, the school has failed to beat its best record of 9.5 set in 2010.
The decline of Kisumu Girls in the top league, having attained a mean score of 7.51 in 2018, was also noted.
On the other hand, Kanyawanga Boys, which has been shining in Migori County, was beaten by newcomers such as Migori Boys and St Peter's Abwao which have registered a steady improvement over the years.
Other prominent absentees in the top positions include Ahero Girls, Nyabondo Boys, Nyakach Girls and Chemelil Sugar Academy, which topped Kisumu County schools in 2010 with a mean of 9.27.
THE FLIP SIDE
On the flip side, established schools which dominated in Nyanza region like Maranda, Ng’iya Girls, St Alberts Ulanda Girls' High School confirmed their mettle after posting impressive performances compared to last year.
In Siaya, schools such as Ramba Boys (7.5) and St Mary’s School Yala (7.4) improved their performances.
Ramba Boys in Rarieda came second after Maranda in Siaya, posting a mean score of 7.5 with 301 candidates, followed closely by another academic giant -- St Mary's Yala in Gem sub-county --- that had a mean score of 7.4.
The third position was clinched by Sawagongo High School with a mean score of 7.2, while Ng'iya Girls, a national school with 392 candidates, tied in fourth position with Ugenya High School after they both obtained a mean grade of 7.05. Last year, Ng’iya had a mean of 6.6.
Also recording improved performances were St Mary's Lwak Girls in Rarieda and St Francis Rang'ala Girls in Ugunja sub-county, with 602 candidates, which secured position six with a mean score of 6.8, ahead of Chianda High School in Rarieda with a 6.7 mean score.
Bar Din'g grabbed position seven in the county after obtaining a mean score of 6.4 ahead of Usenge High School in Bondo sub-county with a mean score of 6.3 to take position eight.
Sega Township in Ugunja sub-county also surprised many after it beat most renowned schools to clinch position nine, with a mean score of 6.2.
In Nyamira, Nyambaria High School (8.0105), St Peter's Nyakemincha Secondary School (7.806), Kebirigo Boys' High School (7.312), Sironga Girls' High School (7.005), Nyamira Boys (6.956) and St Paul's Gekano Boys' High School (6.923) topped the region.
In Kisii, a private-owned school, Kiage Tumaini Boys' High School, (8.6) topped.
State schools which led include Kisii High School (8.381), St Charles Lwanga Ichuni Girls' High School (7.65), Nyabururu Girls' High School (7.514), Riokindo Girls (7.355), Riokindo Boys (7.355) and Cardinal Otunga Mosocho High School (7.289).
Cardinal Otunga Mosocho High School principal Chrispinus Owino said teamwork, hardwork, discipline and focus helped them improve their results.
Last year, the school had a mean score of 5.89.
At St Charles Lwanga Ichuni Girls, there was joy and celebration as 10 girls clinched an A- and above.
School principal Mary Abidha said they were happy with the good performance and appreciated all stakeholders for their teamwork.
By Victor Raballa, George Odiwuor, Dickens Wasonga, Ruth Mbula And Ian Byron