The race for Form One slots is giving parents a headache ahead of the start of the selection process in two weeks, amid fears that thousands of students would miss out on their preferred schools due to capacity constraints at elite institutions.
Despite the high demand, candidates who scored 380 or higher hope to be accepted into top national and extra-county schools. In order to accommodate all Class Eight leavers, schools have received double capacity in the last five years.
This year, 34,839 additional students took the Kenya Certificate of Primary Education (KCPE) and will enter Form One as part of the 100 percent transition program from primary to secondary schools.
A total of 1,214,031 candidates sat the exam compared to 1,179,192 candidates in the 2020 KCPE exam, but only 1,171,265 were placed to join Form One after excluding inmates, overage candidates, and those from refugee camps.
This year, the same group will also be excluded as per the Ministry of Education guidelines.
Speaking in Mombasa where he attended the 24th Surgical Society of Kenya conference yesterday, Education Cabinet Secretary George Magoha announced that the Form One selection will begin in two weeks’ time.
“We shall ensure that all Kenyan children are given equal, fair and just treatment, including those in the slums and far-flung areas,” said the CS.
Top scoring candidates
Prof Magoha said many candidates joining Form one will want to join national schools, yet such institutions might have only 500 slots each with close to 12,000 students scoring over 400 marks.
A total 11,857 candidates scored between 400 and 500 marks compared to 8,091 in 2020. Those who scored between 300 marks and 399 are 315,275, compared to the 282,090 who scored the same marks in 2020, increasing the number by 33,185 students.
A further 578,197 have scored between 200 and 299 marks compared to the 589,027 candidates under the same category in 2020.
According to the Ministry’s data, majority of the pupils who scored 400 marks and above last year were placed in national and extra-county schools of their choice.
The Ministry uses affirmative action to place students in national schools, where the top five candidates of either gender from every sub-county placed in national schools on the basis of the choices they made during registration for the KCPE exam.
Last year’s data shows that some 36,254 students were placed in national schools, 201,077 in extra-county schools, 213,591 in county schools, 1,827 were to join special needs schools, while 718,516 were placed in sub-county schools. The ministry used affirmative action to place students from slums in urban areas to national and extra-county schools.
Most competitive high schools
The slums identified under the arrangement were those in Thika, Nyeri, Kisumu, Nairobi, Mombasa, Nakuru and Eldoret. In last year’s selection process, some national schools that had a capacity of 300 students had more than 100,000 pupils selecting to join them.
Nanyuki, Kabianga, Pangani Girls, Nyandarua, and Alliance Girls were the top five most competitive high schools for candidates. Nanyuki High, which had declared a capacity of 384 Form One students, had 154,524 applications, Kabianga, with 480 slots, saw 142,640 pupils selecting to join while Pangani had 124,982 selecting to join, with a capacity of 484 slots.
Nyandarua High, Alliance Girls, Maseno School and Nakuru High with capacities of between 280 and 528 students, all had more than 100,000 pupils selecting to join them.
Prof Magoha said some candidates had only themselves to blame for not being placed in the schools of their choices because their selection was poor, adding, they only picked national schools and left out selecting extra-county and county ones.
While releasing the results, Prof Magoha had assured that all candidates would get fair treatment.
“Already, the ministry has put in place measures to ensure the selection is conducted the soonest possible to ensure that candidates join Form One soon, given that the next academic calendar will be short,” said Prof Magoha.