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Nairobi sends most students to national schools

Sunday January 6 2019

Education

Education Cabinet Secretary Amina Mohamed speaks during the awarding of Wings to Fly scholarships at Kenyatta University on January 4, 2019.PHOTO | DENNIS ONSONGO | NATION MEDIA GROUP 

NATION REPORTER
By NATION REPORTER
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Nairobi, Nakuru and Kiambu counties are sending the highest number of students to national schools as last year’s Standard Eight graduates start reporting for Form One tomorrow.

Details of the selection compiled by the Sunday Nation based on the Ministry of Education statistics also show that slightly more male students, 1,533, will join national schools.

Cumulatively, 31,337 students out of the 1,049,106 pupils who sat last year’s Kenya Certificate of Primary Education (KCPE) examination will join the elite schools.

Of these, 16,435 are male while 14,902 are female.

There are 103 national schools in the country, meaning that they attract candidates from all counties.

LIST

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Admission to the national schools is usually competitive as they are well-equipped with teaching and learning resources, giving their students a better chance of performing well in national examinations.

According to the analysis, Nairobi City County will supply 3,152 students, the highest number of all the counties.

Some 59,345 pupils sat last year’s primary school national test in the city.

In Nakuru, 1,847 out of 52,811 candidates will be joining national schools compared to Kiambu’s 1,786 students. Some 41,295 candidates sat the examination in Kiambu.

On the other hand, Samburu (125), West Pokot (150) and Lamu (205) counties have taken the lowest numbers of students to the 103 national schools.

There are only five other counties that are posting more than 1,000 candidates to national schools — Kilifi (1,211), Mombasa (1,127), Meru (1,027), Kakamega (1,027) and Machakos (1,013).

DISPARITY

Counties where girls beat boys in the number of students joining the top schools are Taita-Taveta, Kwale, Nyandarua, Kirinyaga, Kiambu, Machakos, Nairobi, Kitui, Embu, Meru, Makueni, Marsabit and Isiolo.

Turkana and Tana River counties had the largest gender disparity in the admission to national schools with the difference being 138 and 107 more boys than girls respectively.

Interestingly, counties in arid and semi-arid areas have sent a good number of their candidates to the leading schools.

Garissa and Wajir East are among sub-counties that are taking more than 250 students to top schools.

These sub-counties rank close to Embakasi (805), Kasarani (613), Garissa (534), Nakuru (345), Ruiru (299), Nyali (268), Wajir East (256) and Kakamega Central (250), which have the largest number of candidates admitted to the top schools.

AFFIRMATIVE ACTION

When she launched the Form One selection on December 3, 2018, Education Cabinet Secretary Amina Mohamed announced that all candidates who obtained 400 marks and above had been admitted to national schools.

But since only 12,000 had obtained above 400 marks, a window was opened for more candidates with lesser marks to join the coveted schools.

Also allowed to join the institutions was the best boy and girl from each sub-county.

Besides merit, selection to all categories of schools was also based on affirmative action.

For the first time, the ministry selected candidates using a computerised system for all national, extra-county and county schools.

It means that parents and candidates would only download their letters from the computer.

DIRECTIVE

But candidates selected to join sub-county schools were receiving hard copy letters from the respective schools or sub-county directors’ offices.

The ministry also banned replacement of Form One candidates through provision of hard copy letters, instead directing principals to only feed details of second selection applicants to the National Education Management Information System (Nemis).

The students are then issued with a Unique Personal Identifier (UPI) to be used throughout the learners’ education journey.

Only the ministry’s national office would then approve or reject the recommendations of the principals.

On Wednesday, however, Ms Mohamed revealed that some principals had resorted to issuing hard copy letters to schools thereby circumventing the Nemis system.

PRINCIPALS

She declared letters so issued as null and void, prompting teachers in some of the schools to resort to regularising the letters they had issued through the system.

The CS directed regional coordinators of education and county directors of education to take action against principals who defied the ministry’s order to ban admissions through hard copy letters for national, extra-county and county schools.

As part of the government’s 100 percent transition policy, Amina said all the 2018 KCPE candidates have been allocated places in secondary schools.