Nanyuki High beats giants in Form 1 applicants

George Magoha

Education Cabinet Secretary George Magoha. FILE PHOTO | NMG

Nanyuki High School received the highest number of applications by candidates who sat the 2020 Kenya Certificate of Primary Education (KCPE) examination despite its limited accommodation capacity, a report by the Education ministry shows.

Education Cabinet Secretary George Magoha said the school attracted 154,524 applicants against an absorption capacity of only 384 students — dwarfing applications for slots in other top-performing institutions such as Alliance High School and Alliance Girls.

Nanyuki was followed by Kabianga High (142,160), Pangani Girls (124,598), Nyandarua High (123,688), Alliance Girls (105,053), Maseno School (104,581) and Nakuru High School (100,840).

Nanyuki High is a boys boarding national school located in Nanyuki Town, Laikipia County.

“We noted that there were some secondary schools that attracted far many applicants when their capacities were far lower,” Prof Magoha said on Tuesday when he released Form One selection results for 2020 KCPE.

This came as a huge chunk of students missed out on their preferred national schools after the number of applicants surpassed available slots by up to 400 percent.

Data from the Ministry of Education shows 1.5 million applications were made for 5,568 available spaces in 15 top schools, pointing to double applications and poor guidance for students.

Parents whose children score 400 marks and above in the examination fight to get space in top secondary schools, despite the country increasing the number of national schools to more than 100.

A total of 8,091 candidates scored above 400 marks in the 2020 exam, which was a 16 percent drop compared with 9,673 in 2019 and 11,559 in 2018.

As is the norm, candidates scoring above 400 marks are assured of places in national schools, including the upgraded institutions that are perceived as less attractive by parents.

“In the placement, the majority of candidates who scored 400 marks and above were placed in National or Extra County schools of their choice,” said Prof Magoha.

He said that it emerged during the selection that candidates did not receive proper guidance and direction when choosing schools.

“For instance, we were dismayed by one school whose almost an entire class of candidates selected the same secondary schools, and in the same order,” he said.

Prof Magoha said that the act borders on carelessness on the part of the school, as it resulted to more candidates missing their preferred schools. This is because it is impossible to select more than five learners from the same primary school.

The data shows 36,254 of the 1,171,265 candidates that sat the exam have been admitted to national schools while Extra County schools took in 201,077 others.

Faith Mumo, the girl who emerged top in KCPE with 433 marks will be joining The Kenya High while Wanyonyi Samuel, the top boy who scored 430 got Mang’u High.

County schools took in 213,591, Sub-county types picked 718,516 while special-need schools absorbed 1,827 candidates.

“We have strictly applied the principles of equity, fairness, merit, inclusiveness, and affirmative action in placing the candidates in each school category,” said Prof Magoha.

He said it is for this reason that the placement took longer than anticipated to be concluded.

When he released the KCPE results in April, Prof Magoha noted the number of candidates that registered but failed to sit the exam more than doubled to 12,424 from 5,530 the previous year.

Form One reporting date is set for August 2.

The 2020 KCPE was administered for four days starting March 22, the first time the national examination was sat at that time other than November.

The candidates were required to sit two metres apart to ensure social distancing in line with public health protocols meant to combat Covid-19.

Learners had been out of schools for about nine months following the outbreak of Covid-19, forcing the government to implement a crash programme to recover the lost time.

Those in pre-primary level one (PP1) and level two (PP2), Grade One to Three, Standard Five to Seven, and in Form One to Three resumed school in May for their third term that will run for 10 weeks.

Learners will break for a week before starting the 2021 Term One on July 26. The 2022 Term One will start on April 25, 2022 according to the new school calendar before it reverts to its normal January date in 2023.

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