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Thousands of candidates to miss Form One as selection kicks off

21 January 2016, 11:11 Arap Yego

Nairobi - Over 200 000 candidates who sat their Kenya Certificate of Primary Education (KCPE) exams last year will not get places in Form One.

An estimated 230 000 former class eight candidates will miss slots in secondary schools as the selection exercise officially begins Thursday at the Kenya Institute of Curriculum Development (KICD).

The top cream of the 927 789 candidates who sat the exam in November will be eying the coveted 22 095 posts in the 103 national schools in the country, according to statistics from the Ministry of Education.

328 extra-County schools that were formally referred to as provincial schools will accommodate 66 497 candidates while 128 049 will be admitted to the 993 County schools and 434 048 will be enrolled in the 6 982 sub-County schools.

On the other hand, the 1 200 private secondary schools in the country are expected to absorb 105 000 learners while at least 1 000 will join special needs schools.

Read Also: WATCH: 20 University campuses closed over poor standards

But even as the selection process gets underway, experts in the education sector have already raised an alarm over the large number of candidates who fail to continue with their secondary education after sitting for KCPE examinations.

Elimu Yetu Coalition's National Coordinator, Janet Muthoni-Ouko noted that for the past five years, the number of former KCPE candidates who fail to transit to secondary institution has stagnated at 200 000.

According to her, the government has done little to ensure the numbers are reduced, despite existing legislation touching on Basic Education for persons under the age of 18 years.

"The government needs to intervene by expanding secondary institutions that fall in the category of County and sub-County school. These schools absorb the largest bulk of learners in the country," said Ouko.

"Putting an unwilling 14-year-old through a village polytechnic after class eight who has little or no choice at all is not a good idea. The government should strive to ensure all underage persons acquire basic education as per the law," she added.

John Mugo, the Uwezo Kenya Co-coordinator echoed Ouko's sentiments and pointed out that the government should switch its focus from national schools to institutions that admit most of the KCPE candidates.

"Over the years, the government has concentrated in expanding facilities at national and extra-County schools using millions of shillings in the process. It now needs to look at the rest of the schools and even develop boarding facilities," said Dr Mugo.

The Uwezo Kenya boss proposed that the government should give incentives to person's wishing to start private secondary educational institutions to absorb some of the learners.

"If we had even half of the number of private secondary schools like we have the primary ones, then this crisis would have been partly solved. The government should lessen the stringent conditions proprietors of private institutions are forced to undergo before registering the centers," said Mugo.

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