Over 120,000 KCPE 2023 candidates placed in unwanted high schools

It has now emerged that more than 120,000 candidates of this year’s Kenya Certificate of Primary Education examination were placed to secondary schools they did not select.

While releasing the Form One selection details on Monday, Director of Secondary Education Paul Kibet said about nine per cent of the learners could not get space in their schools of choice.

“The placement was largely based on merit, choice, affirmative action and available spaces,” he said.

This means that with 1.4 million students placed in secondary schools, 126,029 candidates will report to institutions they did not prefer.

Education Cabinet Secretary Ezekiel Machogu admitted that some learners missed on their desired school choice due to shortage of space in seven counties: Nairobi, Kwale, Narok, Kilifi, Mombasa, Kajiado and Isiolo.

“A few candidates could not be placed using the above criteria and were placed in schools of equivalent standing outside their counties. This number included those from counties with inadequate capacity,” the CS said.

Machogu, however, defended the process, noting that the placement majorly mirrored the candidates desired choices and merit.

And now, parents are pleading with the ministry to facilitate placement of the students to reflect merit and choice ahead of January 15 opening.

Jasper Omwega, National Parents Association, Nairobi County chairman, decried the process, saying this could pose a problem for parents as they rush to look for space in other schools.

“As parents we want to say that we are really worried because we have a lot of cases of misplacement of our learners. We are worried and hope that the ministry will do something so that our learners are not thrown into a fix and don’t know where to go,” he said.

Omwega said some high-scoring learners have been placed in schools that fail to reflect their KCPE score.

“Some learners who have scored very highly including some with 400 marks have been placed in very lowly-ranked schools,” he said yesterday during a meeting by civil society groups led by the Elimu Yetu Coalition.

National chairman, Silas Obuhatsa, said his office is yet to officially receive formal complaints on the placement, but noted that he had heard about the claims.

He advised parents to engage county and sub-county Directors of Education for help. “We are grateful that the government has availed the Form One placement on time. This will help provide parents enough time to prepare for the admission exercise,” he told The Standard said on phone.

Machogu said 28,052 candidates failed to pick schools they wished to join in various categories despite high scores.

Out of these, he said 222 candidates did not select any national school, while 4,837 did not pick extra-county, county 8,716 and sub-county 14,277. 

Machogu said such candidates were placed in public sub-county secondary schools nearest to their former primary schools.

This means that some high-performing candidates might have ended up in day schools.

During this year’s selection, national schools got 42,927 Form One learners, while another 274,746 will join extra-county schools, 288,201 will go to county schools and 2,225 special schools.

The bulk of Form One students, some 792,230, will join sub-county schools, which are mostly day schools.

On Tuesday, Kenya Private Schools Association chairman, Charles Ochome, indicated that the institutions were still studying the placement results before giving a verdict on the exercise.

Elimu Yetu Coalition national coordinator, Joseph Wasikhongo, called on the government to look into the parents claims and rectify any faults.

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