Candidates selected to join national schools will on Tuesday know the schools that they will be joining.
The selection has been going on for the last one week in Naivasha after the release of the Kenya Certificate of Primary Education (KCPE) examination results on December 1.
Education Cabinet Secretary Fred Matiang’i will preside over the exercise at Kenya Institute of Curriculum Development (KICD) that will see candidates placed in 103 national schools. They will report to their respective schools on January 9, a departure from the past, where students reported to school in February.
The selection has been conducted through computation of quotas, merit, equity and choice of schools by candidates.
Education officials have remained tight lipped on how many candidates will join secondary schools given the low performance that was recorded.
“The performance of candidates in this year’s examination was slightly lower than that of 2015,” said Dr Matiang’i during the release of the results.
Last year, 23,085 students joined national schools, an increase from 20,291 in 2014. This year, the minister said 5,143 candidates who scored above 400 will all join national schools.
After Tuesday’s event, the exercise will shift to selection of students to join the 328 extra-county, 993 county, and 6,982 sub-county schools and 980 private schools.
The anticipated capacity for each school has been computed on the basis of 45 students per stream. Dr Matiang’i assured Kenyans that the selection will be fair.
“The selection will ensure that children from disadvantaged backgrounds continue with their education,” said Dr Matiang’i.
Some 942,021 candidates sat the 2016 examination and will be competing for about 780,000 slots in secondary schools.
Last year, 759,603 out of 925,744 joined secondary schools with 23,085 slots in national schools, Special Needs Education Schools had 1,424 slots, extra-county 63,990, county 123,435, sub-county 481,318 and private schools 66,351 slots.
This year, 207,141 candidates scored between 301 – 400 while 501,552 scored 201 – 300 marks, 221,438 scored between 101 – 200 and 6,747 candidates scored 100 marks and below.
Given the limited number of slots in secondary schools, 226,000 who scored 200 marks and below may be locked out of secondary schools and are expected to join youth polytechnics.
Elimu Yetu coalition Coordinator Janet Muthoni says the government should give all candidates an opportunity to pursue secondary education as required by the Basic Education Act.
A review of Form One Selection data by Nation Newsplex, early this year revealed that candidates who sat KCPE in private schools last year were three times as likely to join national schools as compared to their counterparts in public schools.
Last year private schools constituted 15 per cent of the total 925,744 candidates which means that private schools got more than double their share of candidates at the expense of public schools.
DECLINE IN PERFORMANCE
Moi University Lecturer Prof Okumu Bigambo says the decline in performance should not be cause for alarm as most candidates scored the grades that they deserved.
“There was culture shock as previously candidates used to be drilled, and they lacked independence and knowledge management skills,” adds Prof Bigambo.
“Candidates have real grades not the cosmetic ones that they used to get,” he said.
The competition for top national schools this year is also expected to be minimal after 103 national schools were clustered into four categories.
The candidates were only be allowed to pick one elite national school when making their choices. Last year more than 136,000 candidates applied to join Alliance Girls High School alone, forcing the government to cluster schools.
The 18 schools considered more prestigious were placed in the third cluster, meaning no candidate can select any two of them.
The schools include Alliance Boys, Alliance Girls, Mangu High, Maseno, Starehe Boys, Starehe Girls, Nairobi School, Lenana School and the Kenya High School.
Others are Moi Forces Lanet, Moi Forces Academy, Utumishi Academy, Moi Girls Eldoret, Nakuru Boys, Nakuru Girls, Maryhill Girls, Loreto Limuru and Limuru Girls.
A total of 30 national schools, most of which used to be top provincial schools, were lumped in cluster one.
They include; Pangani Girls, Maranda Boys, Lugulu Girls, Friends School Kamusinga, Meru School, Kapsabet Boys, Kisii School, Kakamega School and Mama Ngina Girls in Mombasa.
The second and fourth clusters have 25 and 30 schools, respectively, mainly from marginalised counties like Tana River, Marsabit, Mandera, Wajir, Turkana, Kajiado, Lamu, Samburu and West Pokot.
The selection guidelines also provides that at extra-county schools , selection will be based on the ratio of 20:40:40. Where 20percent is reserved for the host sub-county, 40percent for host county and 40percent for other counties other than the host county.
In county schools, available places will be shared out between sub-counties in the ratio of 20:80 where 20 percent of places are reserved for host sub- county and 80percent is earmarked for the host county and shared out equitably among all the sub-counties, the host sub-county inclusive.
At the sub-county level, selection will be 100 percent from the host sub-county based on merit, choice and the proximity of the school to the KCPE centres.
Kenya Private schools association Chief executive officer Peter Ndoro said they expected the exercise to go on well with no child being discriminated against.
Kenya Secondary schools heads association Chairman Kahi Indimuli said schools are ready to receive the students next year.