National schools forced to take 214 mark student

National Schools in Western Kenya have been forced by the Ministry of Education to admit students from other regions who scored below 50 percent in the KCPE exams into Form One, the Star has established.

Bunyore Girls, Kakamega High School, Lugulu Girls and Friends Kamusinga have enrolled students with marks as low as 211 and 214, although they are National Schools supposed to accept the high-performers.

The marks in question are well below the pass mark for entry into a National School.

The exact reasons for the skewed admission and bias were not stated.

This admission of low-performers locks out deserving students who scored more than 400 marks.

The schools' boards of management have been unsuccessful in seeking redress from the County Education Commissioners because the Form One selection was done in Nairobi.

A survey by The Star revealed that more than 70 students from Nyeri and Karatina, with marks as low as 214 marks, have been admitted to Friends School Kamusinga, a National School in Bungoma county.

Most of the 70 students scored less than 350 marks.

Admission of pupils with average to sub-par marks questions the ideal of meritocracy, denying excellent students the schools of their choice.

Chairman of the Board of Management of Friends School Kamusinga Professor Noah Sitati yesterday said they were helpless. He regretted the preferential selection of students who got low marks will erode standards of National Schools.

“One admitted student got 214 marks in the KCPE exam. That’s a failure. Those less than 350 marks are about two streams. Being a National School, we get students from anywhere but to get a student with 214 marks is outrageous," Prof Sitati said.

The chairman said such students could have difficulty being admitted to a County school let alone a national school.

"This means that county and district schools are getting better students, while national schools are getting the worst,” Prof Sitati said. Standards will fall, he predicted, pupils will not be motivated and competition will die.

“We have protested to the County Education Commissioner but nothing can be done because the process is controlled from the Ministry headquarters in Nairobi. Very good children with good marks have been left out. What do we do with those who passed well and deserve to be admitted to national schools?” Prof Sitati asked?

He said Education Cabinet Secretary Professor Jacob Kaimenyi should fix the mess. The Star, Saturday January 31, 2015.

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