The Kenyan ministry of education will release the results of this year’s Kenyan Certificate of Primary Education (KCPE) exam. At the end of primary school all students sit the national exam to determine which high schools they will attend.
For the first time, in the announcement will be ranked by Kenya’s 47 counties. In the past wealthier and more urban areas of the country have done better than poorer rural areas. For many critics the current education system in Kenya serves little more than replicate the existing class structure – with wealthier kids doing better in primary school, going to better high schools and then getting subsidized university education. Most poor students – the vast majority of KCPE candidates – never make it beyond high school.
In the just released results (KCPE top performers) of the Kenya Certificate of Primary Education (KCPE) exams boys have dominated, as usual. The gender disparity, however, appears to be a result of socio-economic conditions. In Nairobi, where most girls do not have to spend hours fetching water, gathering firewood or helping mom plant the fields, girls took 55 of the top 100 slots.
Although not released yet, I am sure that the detailed results will also indicate regional disparities in the provision and quality of education. It appears that no one at Mr. Sam Ongeri’s Ministry appreciates the importance of education as an effective long-run socio-economic equalizer.
Otherwise they would not sit on their hands (when they are not stealing free primary education money) even as the country’s education system continues to reproduce the existing class system.
UPDATE:The KNEC system seems to be down, judging by the amount of comments and requests I have received in the last few hours. I guess the cell phone thing is not working after all. Even the Nation went down at some point last night.
The 2009 KCSE results are out.
The best student in the country in last year’s national examination was David Ndung’u of Mang’u High School (yours truly’s alma mater. Congrats David!!! Jishinde Ushinde!!!). The top 100 list of students is largely dominated by students from public national and provincial schools. More on this here…
I am yet to read the entire report but the one thing that jumped at me is that no girl made it to the top ten nationally. Only 27 girls were in the top 100. The best female student was Grace Wambui of Moi Girls School Eldoret. She came 11th. Additionally, although overall performance went up this year the pass rate (C+ and above) was a dismal 24.56%. Mr. Ongeri clearly has more to answer for than just the cash scandal that hangs over his head.
Kenyan Premier, Raila Odinga, continued his call for the resignation of Education Minister Sam Ongeri – this time in the presence of the latter at a function in Nairobi’s Upper Hill district.
According to media reports, Prof. Ongeri’s ministry has been involved in a corruption scandal that robbed the country’s free primary education program of millions of Shillings. President Kibaki remains characteristically quiet on this matter, perhaps waiting for Prof. Ongeri to see the writing on the wall for himself.
The Kenyan Education Minister Prof. Sam Ongeri is not among the big fish in Kenyan politics. Neither are his assistant and the Ministry’s permanent secretary. Firing them and making them face the law will not have any awful political consequences for the president and his non-existent party. But it will serve Kenya. I think that this is a wonderful opportunity for the president to demonstrate that there are sacred programs that should never be compromised with – like the free primary education program, or healthcare.
Several months ago I thought that the president and his premier would punish those who stole government maize for re-export even as Kenyans starved to death. No one has been punished yet. Word on the street is that bigwigs in the Agriculture Ministry and perhaps even the premier’s son were deeply involved, plus a number of MPs. Now almost SHS 200 million has disappeared from the Ministry of Education. This is money that was intended to finance free primary education. Kibaki cannot afford to turn a blind eye to this.
In other news, the UN wants Guinean dictator Capt. Moussa Camara (and his henchmen) to be tried for crimes against humanity following the massacre of over 150 protestors in late September. Mr. Camara is currently recovering in a Moroccan hospital following a botched assassination attempt. The attempt on his life is believed to be a result of infighting within the junta over who should take responsibility for the September massacre.
Elsewhere, the president of Nigeria continues to rule in absentia. President Umaru Yar’Adua has been ailing in a Saudi hospital for a while now, prompting calls for his resignation. Nigerian politics aside, I echo these same calls. Nigeria is the undisputed leading country in West Africa. The chaos in Guinea and to a lesser extent in Guinea-Bissau and the Ivory Coast require mediation and regional engagement. Nigeria can provide leadership on this front, plus it can send troops (to Guinea especially) to keep the peace. The region needs Nigerian leadership (yes, I know I just said that). And that means having a strong and engaged Nigerian president.
Many thanks to the Nation. The newspaper reporters tabulated the mean scores of several schools and came up with a tentative list of the top schools in the country in last years KCSE exams. Top of the (unofficial) list is Preciosu Blood-Riruta. In second place is Starehe Boys Centre. Alliance Boys is third. Mang’u High School, last year’s best performing school is in fourth place with a mean of 10.2350, a drop from the school’s leading average of 11.2634 (out of 12) last year. The other leading schools according to the Nation’s tally were Kenya High, Moi Girls Eldoret, Bahati Girls, Maseno School, Strathmore and Nairobi School respectively. Among the top ten schools, only one, Strathmore, is a day school. Four of them are girl schools and none is a mixed school.
As pointed out by Prof. Ongeri (edcuation minister), this year’s performance was less than ideal. The pass rate, those with C+ and above (hence technically qualified for university) was 24%. Only 0.27% scored straight As. 34 percent scored Ds and Es.Yes, 34%!!!
The minister for education blamed the poor performance on last year’s post-election violence and the strikes that affected several schools during the mock exams season.
I say this is hiding from the truth. The fact of the matter is education in Kenya continues to be grossly under-funded. I know this for a fact because even in my high school – a well regarded National School – the PTA had to step in through fundraisers to pay for improvements of the facilities and extra motivation allowances for teachers. You can only imagine what other schools without such enterprising PTAs have to contend with.
My question to the minister is: who should we hold accountable when a whole 76% of high school students cannot score C+s in the KCSE ??????
And here is a piece by Philip Ochieng’ on the Kenyan education system….
The (Kenyan) minister of education, Prof. Sam Ongeri, released the 2008 KCSE results today. This year’s results announcement was different in that it did not include the ranking of schools. Only students were ranked, with Mark Maugo and Velma Mukhongo emerging as the top boy and girl respectively. The top girl was fourth overall.The rankings also included lists of best students per subject.
The minister also noted a drop in performance, possibly related to the numerous strikes that rocked several schools mid last year. There were 460 fewer irregularities this year than there were last year.
While I appreciate the minister’s attempts to remove unhealthy competition among high schools, I still think that the ranking gave schools an incentive to make sure that ALL their students succeed. Now that only students are being ranked, we may end up with a case whereby schools only concentrate on their best students who will make it to the top ten lists of subjects nationally and forget about those at the bottom of the class. I think the media should do its job and find out which schools did better, to give parents a sense of where they ought to send their kids and to expose poor performers.
Competition breeds excellence, bwana Minister. And in any case you can’t erase the disparities between the ‘big schools’ as we know them and the smaller ones. The former still remain better funded and attract the best teachers. What the government should have done is not eliminate the rankings, but instead strive at improving all schools in the long run so that they can all compete fairly. Eliminating the ranking will not solve the problem, it is a shameful attempt to hide from the problem of inequality among Kenyan schools.