A meeting bringing together ministry officials and regional and county directors of education established that the headteachers were creating the extra streams in order to “sell” admission slots.
The ministry based its finding on an audit it commissioned under the leadership of the Director of Secondary and Tertiary Education, Mr Robert Masese.
The Education ministry has unearthed a scandal in which some national secondary school headteachers are creating extra Form One streams and admitting more students than the number recommended by the government.
The matter was the subject of discussions last Tuesday when Education Cabinet Secretary Fred Matiang’i held a closed-door meeting with the eight regional and county education officials and Teachers Service Commission (TSC) county directors.
Last year, some 5,000 extra students were admitted to national schools as a result of headteachers creating these extra streams, the meeting learnt. The practice, sources told the Nation, is rampant in Central Kenya and the Western region.
Sources in the meeting said the education officials were instructed to monitor the forthcoming Form One admissions to ensure such unethical practices don’t occur.
Government guidelines require that a stream has 45 students but schools are allowed to admit up to 50 students in special circumstances.
Kenya Secondary Schools Heads Association (KESSHA) chairman Kahi Indimuli admitted that the ministry had raised the matter with the association.
He, however, said that the association had not received the list of the schools that were involved in the malpractice.
“The issue has been raised by the ministry and we have advised our members to strictly adhere to the guidelines on admission. Going against the directive is punishable and we hope schools will admit what they can handle so that they do not stretch available facilities,” said Mr Indimuli.
He said each school submitted its capacity to the ministry which they signed and those who wish to increase their capacity must notify the ministry.
During the Form One admission in February this year, some schools admitted more students than they could handle which put a strain on accommodation facilities, teachers and classrooms.
However, Kenya Union of Post Primary Education Teachers (KUPPET) chairman Omboko Milemba said it will be unfair for the ministry to reprimand school heads for admitting extra students.
“We cannot punish teachers who are helping the government to achieve almost 100 per cent transition. What we should focus on is provision of more facilities so that all children have access to basic education,” said Mr Milemba.
Kenya National Union of Teachers (Knut) secretary-general Wilson Sossion also absolved schools from blame and instead asked the government to provide more resources to learning institutions.
“We can use billions of shillings that are being stolen from public coffers through corruption to improve the education sector by hiring more teachers and putting up more classes and laboratories,” said Mr Sossion.
This year, 942,021 candidates sat their Kenya Certificate of Primary Education (KCPE) examination and the projected transition rate from primary to secondary school is expected to rise
Candidates are being admitted to the schools based on merit, equity, choice and affirmative action.
“Despite this positive progress in transition rates, more needs to be done. Subsequently, we are in consultation with other education stakeholders and government agencies to explore modalities of attaining 100 per cent transition from primary to secondary school,” said Dr Matiang’i last week.
Meanwhile, a number of candidates with as high as 380 marks are yet to know the schools that they have been admitted to a week after results for national and extra county schools were released.
Parents who called the Nation asked the ministry explain what is happening to end their anxiety.
At the same time, candidates will know schools that they have been selected to join at county and sub-county levels starting tomorrow.
The launch will be conducted in 13 centres across the country and will be done tomorrow and Tuesday.
Education Principal Secretary Belio Kipsang has asked the Regional Coordinators of Education and County Directors of Education hosting the exercise to liaise with the area police bosses to provide adequate security during the exercise.
A total of 133,785 students will join county schools while sub-county schools will admit 492,576. Special schools will take 1,449 and private schools will admit 72,744.
Reporting dates for all Form Ones is on January 9 and not later than January 16.