The 2011 Kenya Certificate of Secondary Education (KCSE) results will be released tomorrow. The exam is a make or break affair for most students since it is the key determinant of whether they will continue on to college or drop off the education ladder and join scores of unemployed youth with limited economic prospects.
These results will be the first since the 2008 introduction of subsidized high school programmes.
This year’s high school leavers will still have to wait for about two years before they can join university – an artifact of the Moi Administration going back to the early 1980s when universities were shut down for an extended period due to political unrest.
I do not have the exact numbers but know that the duration of time between leaving high school and joining university for the average Kenyan student (who does well enough in high school) is closer to 6+ years than 4 years. Both the Moi legacy and intermittent strikes by lecturers and students are to blame for this massive waste of young Kenyans’ time.
This year’s KCPE results were released yesterday. As expected, girls beat boys (on average) in the languages. They however trailed in all the other subjects: mathematics, science, social studies and religious education. The top 100 lists in all the provinces were dominated by boys. It should disturb Kenyan educators that from a very early age Kenyan children are intellectually segregating themselves by gender. In most places pre-teen and teenage girls out-perform boys in ALL subjects. So why are Kenyan girls not doing as well as they should? Is it because of gender bias at home (as is surely the case in the country-side) or in the classroom (as might be the case in the urban areas where boys and girls have more or less equal opportunities) and what can the government/society do to reverse this?
This year’s results also showed that the government’s free primary education program was a huge flop. Yes, more children are going to school but the quality of education has plummeted precipitously. Most of the top-ranked students were from private schools. With the recently unearthed corruption scandal in the ministry and the poor performance of the free primary education program it might be time for parliament to get more hawk-eyed with regard to the operations of this ministry.