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MPs decry discrimination in Form One selection

28 January 2015, 10:44 Samuel Kisika

Nairobi – The National Assembly Committee on Education has decried discrimination in Form One selection exercise saying the government favored pupils from public schools.

The committee’s chair, Sabina Chege said despite the mushrooming of private schools in the country, the government could have exercised fairness in awarding slots in national schools so that pupils from private schools do not to feel discriminated.

The government allocated private schools about 22% of slots in national secondary schools yet majority of their pupils garnered higher marks compared to pupils from public schools who were then awarded 78% slots.

“We also support private school stakeholders in condemning the discriminative Form One selection exercise that the government adopted. We know well many new private schools are in the country but the government should have used a fair proportion in awarding slots,” said Chege.

She said it is too difficult for her committee to ask the Education Ministry to start a new selection exercise but instead promised to initiate fair methodology for use in the future.

Read Also: Students cancel planned demo over delayed HELB money

“I don’t think that the Education Ministry can now be persuaded to cancel the Form One selection. Maybe it has its own approach of the selection but we will try to address the matter for fairness in the future selections,” said Chege.

During such Form One admission times, many school principals hike fees but Chege said her committee has asked the Education Ministry to provide the harmonized fee structures for both public day secondary and boarding schools to ensure parents do not incur any extra, irregular expenses.

“I ask all parents for public day secondary schools to take their children to school even if they have no full fees. KES 13 000 fees is paid for these students by the government and there is no good reason for them not to be in class,” said Chege.

Her Vice Chair, Julius Melly said the committee held discussions with the Education Principal Secretary, Belio Kipsang regarding the delay in disbursement of HELB loan and assured that the government is putting appropriate measures in place to ensure such delays do not occur.

“We met the Education PS today and said HELB has already released KES 800 million to university students and assured that the remaining KES 700 million will be released very soon. The government has been dilly-dallying on the release of HELB funds making students to threaten to protest until the money is released,” said Melly.

“We don’t want such delays to continue and we will ensure that the problem is brought to an end,” he added.

University of Nairobi had issued a protest notice if the first-year students do not receive the HELB funds by Wednesday this week.

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