Parents, teachers allege bias over Form One places

Form One selection moves to the county and sub-county levels today amid protest from some parents and teachers that the process has been unfair and should be suspended.

Ministry officials said the regional selection will be conducted in eight regions for easy execution.

On Sunday, Mr Omboko Milemba, the Kenya Union of Post Primary Education Teachers (Kuppet) chairman, said the government should cancel the selection process and start it afresh because some candidates who had scored high marks had been denied an opportunity to join the schools of their choice.

He said it was unfair to deny a child who scored more than 400 marks the opportunity to join a national school yet give the same opportunity to one who scored 200.

“We are reading a sinister motive in this whole exercise as it could be a ploy by some education officials to use the method to fix their cronies’ children in national schools,” he said.

In Kisumu, Kenya National Union of Teachers branch executive secretary Joshua Ogalo said the selection was shrouded in mystery.

“We are in the dark over how the selection was done. We need an explanation on why the new method was chosen over previous ones,” Mr Ogalo told the Nation by phone.

Mr Peter Ochieng, a parent in Kisumu, said it was discouraging for candidates with 400 marks and above to be invited to join county and district schools.

“Children across the country who did well in national examination are being discouraged by this system of selection and as parents were are concerned,” he said.


One of the students who are at odds with the new system is Albert Ochieng from Siaya County who scored 407 marks but did not secure a position in either a national school or an extra-county school (formerly provincial schools).

Ochieng, who sat his KCPE from Karapul Primary School, received a message informing him that he had been selected to join Ramba Boys, a county school.

In Kakamega, former Lubinu Primary School student Witney Nyachoti was distraught that her 412 marks would not secure her a place in either Kenya High, Alliance, Moi Girls or Loreto — her choices for national school. Instead, she was selected to join Sacred Heart Mukumu Girls, a county school.

“It is disturbing that those I beat hands-down in our school managed to land a slot in national schools,” she said. Ms Elizabeth Mutua, headmistress of Golden Elite schools, questioned why one of their pupils, Lancaster Benjamin, failed to secure a slot in a national school with 422 marks.

“Our children performed exemplarily; but the selection team did not consider their efforts,” she said. Benjamin secured a place at Kisumu Boys.

In Mombasa, Senator Hassan Omar and former Knut branch secretary Ahaya Juma Ahaya faulted the criteria used by the Ministry of Education to select Form One candidates.

“You cannot criminalise children whose parents have taken them to private schools. Every child has a right to be protected by the government and there is no public or private child in this country,” Mr Omar said.


Mr Ahaya said that since about 5,600 candidates scored 400 marks and above, they should all have been admitted to the 102 national secondary schools which have over 20,000 Form One places.

“We want the ministry to tell us what criterion was used to deny such performers national schools’ places while their number does not exceed the 20,000 slots,” he said.

In Kisii County, Kitutu Masaba MP Timothy Bosire also protested that the selection was skewed.

He said pupils who scored as high as 400 marks were selected to join “small schools” which they had not selected. This, he said, will kill the morale of many of the affected pupils.

Accompanied by Nyamira county women representative Alice Chae and West Mugirango MP James Gesami, Mr Bosire urged the officers mandated to undertake the selection to make the criteria public to ease anxiety among parents and pupils.

However, the Ministry of Education defended the process saying that selection was guided by the constitutional principles of equity and fairness.

“We have over the years endeavoured to develop a system that guarantees every Kenyan child a fair chance of placement,” said Education Cabinet Secretary Jacob Kaimenyi.

He said selection was based on merit, a candidate’s choices and district quota computed on the basis of the Sub-County’s candidature strength. He said the system ensures that every child has a chance at placement irrespective of their socio-economic background.

“Whereas the present selection has immensely benefited from lessons learned from past practice, it is our intention to build on the gains of past selection to perfect current and future selection,” he said.


Today’s selection for those to join county and sub-county schools will be conducted in eight regions.

Selection for the North Rift, which covers Uasin Gishu, Baringo, Elgeyo Marakwet and Nandi, will be done at Moi Girls in Eldoret.

For the Coast — Mombasa, Kilifi, Kwale, Tana River, Taita Taveta and Lamu — selection will be held at Coast Girls.

For the South Rift, which covers Kericho, Bomet, Nakuru and Narok, selection will take place at Afraha High School.

The Lake region which comprises Siaya, Kisumu and Homa Bay, will conduct its selection at the Kisumu Polytechnic while Western — comprising Kakamega, Vihiga, Busia and Bungoma — will hold its selection at Kakamega High school.

For the Kisii region of Nyamira, Kisii and Migori counties, the selection will be at Kisii High School while the Metropolitan region, that consists of Nairobi, Kajiado and Kiambu will hold its selection at Mang’u High School.


Central region — Nyeri, Kirinyanga and Murang’a — will chose its candidates at Nyeri Technical while the Aberdare region that has Nyandarua, Laikipia and Samburu, will be at Nyahururu High School.

Selection for Lower Eastern — Machakos, Kitui and Makueni counties — will be at Machakos Boys while in the Nzoia region that covers Turkana, West Pokot, Trans Nzoia will be at Kitale school.

The Garissa region that covers Mandera, Garissa and Wajir will pick its candidates at NEP Girls while in Upper Eastern, which brings together Embu, Tharaka Nithi, Meru, Marsabit and Isiolo will select candidates at Kaaga Girls. Form One students are expected to report to their respective schools between February 2 and 13. Nation - Monday 26th January 2015

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