More than one million candidates who sat the Kenya Certificate of Primary Education (KCPE) exam will today know the secondary schools they be joining next month.
Education Cabinet Secretary Ezekiel Machogu is this morning expected to preside over the Form One placement exercise at Lenana School amid concern over pending court cases after some parents challenged the results.
The placement is taking place when the outcome of an audit into KCPE results irregularities is still not known though Machogu earlier downplayed the scale of the inconsistencies when he recently appeared before the National Assembly’s Education Committee.
Godfrey Ombogo, assistant director of communication at Kenya National Examination Council (KNEC), while declining to comment on the court cases, maintained the placement exercise will go on.
“We cannot comment on the cases still pending in court but as it stands, the report presented to Parliament we detailed the cases had been handled but just a few still pending,” said Ombogo.
Looking forward to a transparent exercise, stakeholders argue that since this will be the last selection exercise based on a written exam, the government should ensure equity, regional and gender balance are observed.
Kenya Union of Post-Primary Education Teachers (Kuppet) Secretary-General Akelo Misori urged the government to exercise fairness in selection.
“We would wish to see all our children accorded equal chance in the placement. They are all our children and it is our belief that Form One selection will be fair to all,” Misori said.
Kenya National Union of Teachers (Knut) has challenged the selecting officials to consider the distance of learners.
“We should not see a situation where a boy is placed in a girls’ school or vice versa. Secondly, students should not be crossing several counties to access education,” said Knut Secretary General Collins Oyuu.
On his part, Kenya Secondary Schools Heads Association (KESSHA) Chairman Kahi Indimuli said the placement process should address congestion currently experienced in many schools.
“This year’s KCSE candidates were just 903,260 students against those joining Form One at 1,415,315. This means about half a million learners will lack space in schools,’’ Indimuli said.
“The Ministry of Education should think outside the box and place more students in sub-county schools. If facilities are improved, we will not have the cutthroat competition for boarding schools,” he added.
While announcing last year’s placement, Machogu expressed disappointment that major towns have no adequate schools, forcing the government to place learners far away from their urban homes.
Alternative Providers of Basic Education Trainers (APBET) schools secretary Dr Paul Wanjohi urged the government to use a quota system to ensure marginalised learners from informal settlements are not disadvantaged.
“Schools in remote areas and slums go through a lot of challenges unlike those from privileged backgrounds. Let the government set aside slots for learners to compete fairly,” Dr Wanjohi said.
Former Nanyuki school principal Oliver Minishi appealed to the government to consider placing students in private secondary schools, as is the case for universities.
Kenya Private Schools Association chairman Charles Ochome urged the government to extend capitation to pupils in private schools, saying the move will reduce congestion in public schools.
Kenya Primary School Heads Association chairman Johnson Nzioka hopes the selection process will be fair to students from public schools.
“Our pupils did well in the examination and we believe that they will be able to get schools of their choice,” said Nzioka.
Kenya Union of Special Needs Education Teachers chairman Peter Sitienei emphasised on the need to consider distance.
Church and Clergy Association of Kenya chairman Bishop Hudson Ndeda has also advised the government to ensure learners are not taken far from their parents.
Sources from the ministry indicate that Form One students will join by January 15.