Schools have created more than one million Form One places in readiness for a massive enrolment in January.
The slots in both public and private secondary schools will be more than enough for the 993,000 candidates who sat the Kenya Certificate of Primary Education this year and have been specifically created to support the free day secondary school programme which will begin in January.
The government will roll out the programme on Monday and will begin with slotting in all the candidates, hoping to achieve a 100 per cent transition rate from primary to secondary school.
Previously, all schools have been enrolling between 500,000 and 600,000 students leaving out about 250,000.
Government sources said public and private schools in the country have reported a total of 1,054,000 places in Form One, meaning there is a surplus for all KCPE exam candidates.
However, the exact breakdown of slots in public schools and those in private schools will be known today at the launch of Form One selection.
The government mid this year gave more than 2,000 day schools about Sh6 billion to expand their facilities in readiness for the intake.
Elite national schools, which will receive their enrolment lists today at the Kenya Institute Of Curriculum Development (KICD) Nairobi are Alliance Boys, Alliance Girls, Mang’u High, Maseno, Starehe Boys, Starehe Girls, Nairobi School, Lenana School, Kenya High School, Moi Forces Lanet, Moi Forces Academy, Utumishi Academy, Moi Girls Eldoret, Nakuru Boys, Nakuru Girls, Maryhill Girls, Loreto Limuru and Limuru Girls.
Education Cabinet Secretary Fred Matiang’i will preside over the selection to hand lists containing candidates picked to join the 105 national schools on January 9.
Sunday evening, Dr Matiang’i and the Basic Education principal secretary, Dr Belio Kipsang’, were holding a meeting with senior ministry officials to put the final touches to the selection results.
The Nation learnt that Dr Matiang’i will use the occasion to make far-reaching policy changes in education, including a new order that books will be supplied to schools directly from January. He will also spell out measures to implement the Free Day Secondary learning programme.
Those invited include principals of the more than 100 national schools, officials of the secondary school heads association and county directors of education.
Officials of the ministries of Education and ICT spent last week in Naivasha, where they placed all the candidates to the top schools.
Today’s event is, therefore, simply an occasion at which principals are provided with lists of the candidates they will admit to their schools. The selection is done using a computer programme based on a candidate’s choices.
While releasing the 2017 KCPE results recently, Dr Matiang’i said the selection will be fair and quick.
“Selection of candidates into public secondary schools will be based on merit, quotas, equity, affirmative action and student choice,” he said. “Efforts will also be made to ensure that children from disadvantaged backgrounds continue with their education,” he said.
Letters of Form One selection are posted on the ministry’s website and schools can print them out.
A circular to all principals from Dr Kipsang’ said candidates joining boarding schools will get their admission details on the ministry’s website.
Of the candidates to be selected, 498,775 are boys and 494,943 girls. All candidates who scored 400 marks and above will be admitted to national schools, irrespective of whether they were in private or public schools.
Recently, Dr Matiang’i said parents would not go through the annual nightmare of hunting for schools since all pupils will get places.
Some 9,848 candidates scored more than 400 marks, while 217,307 candidates scored between 301 and 400 marks.
A further, 529,897 scored between 201 and 300 marks, against last year’s 501,552, while 234,308 got 101 to 200 marks compared with 221,438 last year.
Only 2,360 candidates scored less than 100 marks, compared with last year’s 6,747.
But while the stakeholders support the rollout of the free secondary education, they have questioned the ministry’s preparedness for the initiative for which Sh56 billion has been set aside.
The Kenya Union of Post-Primary Education Teachers (Kuppet) and Kenya Primary Schools Heads Association (Kepsha) asked the government to employ more teachers and improve the infrastructure in schools. Statistics indicate that there are about 88,000 post-primary teachers in the country, with a shortage of about 50,000.
Kuppet chairman Omboko Milemba called for the creation of extra streams to cater for the increased enrolment.
FREE SECONDARY EDUCATION
“This is one of the issues we will discuss during our annual delegates conference this December. It would be improper for us to discourage the free secondary education as it is the way to go now. But there are certain minimums that must be achieved because we might end up emphasising on quantity as opposed to quality,” Mr Milemba said on the telephone.
Kepsha chairman Shem Ndolo also waded into the matter, saying the upgrading of infrastructure is critical.
For the programme to be successful, he said, schools must be ready with adequate classrooms, desks, chairs, laboratories and teachers.
“The infrastructure is still inadequate. We need to understand how this infrastructure upgrade will be put in place and supply of enough books as well,” he said.
Mr Ndolo spoke at the Sheikh Zayed Children Welfare Centre in Bombolulu, Mombasa, the venue of this year’s Kepsha delegates conference which starts today.
In the free day programme, every student has been allocated Sh22,244 annually up from the current Sh12,870, to cater for tuition costs.
The capitation will be disbursed in the ratio of 50:30:20 in first, second and third term.
For day scholars, the money will cater for all their expenses and they will only be required to buy uniforms and lunch. Previously, they paid Sh9,374 a year per student.
In a previous interview, Kenya Secondary Schools Heads Association chairman Kahi Indimuli said several schools had received funding to improve their infrastructure ahead of the free secondary education rollout.
He, however, admitted that there will be congestion in schools unless the infrastructure is put in place on time.
In an executive directive last Tuesday, President Uhuru Kenyatta ordered that all candidates who sat the KCPE this year should know their new schools by Christmas.