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Choosing only 15 ‘elite’ schools ruined chances of 1m pupils

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By OUMA WANZALA
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More than a million Kenya Certificate of Primary Education examination candidates scrambled for slots in 15 national schools, ruining their chances of joining their preferred institutions, a study shows.

Confidential data from the Form One selection panel at the Ministry of Education shows that out of the total 1,052,364 candidates who sat the examination in November, some 1,008,028 chose the 15 schools as their first choice, leaving only 44,336 candidates to fight for slots in the remaining 88 national schools.

With the 15 elite schools able to absorb only 5,512 pupils who scored 400 marks and above, it meant the remaining 1,002,516 candidates were to settle for the “lesser” national schools in the order of their preference.

The schools that attracted a majority of the candidates include Alliance Boys, Mang’u, Lenana, Nairobi, Starehe Boys, Maseno, Kapsabet Boys and Maranda High.

Others were Alliance Girls, Kenya High, Pangani Girls, Limuru Girls, Moi Girls Eldoret, Mary Hill and Nakuru Girls.

The policy was that any pupil who attained 400 marks and above would automatically be selected to a national school, in the order of the candidate’s preference.

It means that those who missed their first choice national schools due to one reason or another had to settle for the second, third or fourth choices.

Pangani Girls, which attracted 110,835 candidates, the highest number to pick one school as their first choice, had only 336 slots available.

The choice of Pangani Girls as the most preferred school could have been informed by the fact that it produced the best candidate countrywide as well as two other candidates among the top 10 in last year’s Kenya Certificate of Secondary Education examination.

Alliance Girls in Kiambu County, ranked third nationally in the 2017 KCSE examination, attracted 92,067 applications, against a capacity of 384.

Kapsabet had the highest number of applications in the boys’ category at 62,383 against 432 slots.

Mang’u received 86,976 applications but had space for just 384.

Maranda High will admit the highest number of students at 528 followed by Maseno School at 480 and Kapsabet Boys at 432.

The report comes against widespread complaints by parents and candidates who scored impressive results but missed out on their preferred schools.

Mr Bernard Otieno, a teacher, said his daughter who scored 402 marks has been selected to join Mbooni Girls against her preferred choice of Kenya High.

“She was not placed in any of the four national schools she selected,” Mr Otieno said.

Hundreds of parents unhappy with the schools their children were placed are already looking for places in other institutions, the Sunday Nation has learnt.

Technocrats involved in the selection and who spoke to the Sunday Nation blamed parents and pupils for compromising their chances by concentrating on “prestigious” schools.

“Twenty-eight candidates in one sub-county applied to join Alliance Girls and all qualified but only five were selected. The remaining will obviously complain,” he said.

Another official said parents and teachers should be sensitised in order to guide pupils properly.

Some pupils were selected to join special schools yet they are not disabled.

The ministry will start reviewing their cases on Monday.

Kenya Secondary School Heads Association chairman Kahi Indimuli said candidates tend to pick a few institutions because of their history of good performance.

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