An uproar has ensued over the reduced number of Form Four graduates who would be joining university following the release of Kenya Certificate of Secondary Education (KCSE) results by Education minister Dr Fred Matiang’i on Wednesday.
According to the results, the number of students who scored straight As marginally increased from 141 last year to 142 following stringent measures imposed by the Kenya National Examinations Council and the ministry of Education in collaboration with the ministry of ICT.
In addition, the number of A- reduced from 4,645 in 2016 to 2,714 while the overall number of students who scored C+ and above, which is the university entry point, reduced to 70,073 from 88,929 in 2016.
This has caused alarm among stakeholders, who are questioning what the future holds for those who did not qualify to join universities.
Former Education Permanent Secretary Prof James ole Kiyiapi, who now lectures at the University of Eldoret says something does not add up.
Over 600k students did KCSE in 2017, and those getting C+ and above are reported to be about 70k. This is the number qualified to join university. What happens to over 500k? Was exam too hard, quality of teaching too low? Something does not add up!” he posed on Twitter.
“Under Matiangi, in two years, Kenya has yielded over 1.1m pupils who have no access to university education. In the two years, only 154k have qualified for university. We are condemning a generation to oblivion. The consequences will be unprecedented,” says NASA Executive Director Norman Magaya.
NASA leader Raila Odinga, on his part, says a taskforce should be formed to probe the reasons behind the mass failure in this year’s KCSE exams.
“Close to 90 per cent of the KCSE candidates have failed. This is very worrying,” he said.
“As the country commits resources to free learning and scales up enrolment, the whole purpose and value for money is lost when close to 90 per cent of those students eventually fail,” Raila says in a statement.
This came as a candidate committed suicide by jumping into a well after her parents reportedly quarreled her over her poor performance in the exams.
The candidate, identified as Carren Ouma, was a student at Moi Nyabohanse High school in Kuria Sub County and got a C- (minus). Her parents are said to have expected better results.
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Teachers unions, the Kenya National Union of Teachers (Knut) and Kenya Union of Post-Primary Education Teachers (Kuppet) have also questioned the speedy release of the results, which the government attributes to use of ICT, terming them as a fraud.
They also took issue with the CS for sidelining them during the release of the results.
However, Dr Matiang’i attributes the poor results to poor grasp of respective subjects, saying in his reports that students scored lowly in exams that required them to “DISCUSS” and “EXPLAIN.”
“The examiners reported that some of the questions that tested candidates’ ability to DISCUSS or EXPLAIN certain concepts that they had learnt were poorly answered, with many candidates either listing or providing sketchy answers,” Matiang’i said during the release of the results at Nairobi School on Wednesday.