Praise and criticism for ranking ban

The decision by Education Secretary Jacob Kaimenyi not to rank schools and candidates when he released the 2014 Kenya Certificate of Primary Education examination results was met with praise and criticism in equal measure.

While some stakeholders supported the move, others opposed the decision on grounds that it would affect the quality of education.

While acknowledging that ranking had its merits, Prof Kaimenyi outlined 11 demerits, which he said prompted the education ministry to discontinue the system.

However, Parliamentary Education Committee vice-chairman Julius Melly expressed reservations and insisted that ranking is important.

Mr Melly said the ministry should rethink the policy or rank schools according to the infrastructure development, county or sub-counties.

“Ranking enhances competition. As we leave here, no one knows who the best candidate is. Prof Kaimenyi is a let-down to the Jubilee government,” the Tinderet MP said.

He said that all reasons that the CS gave for abolishing ranking could easily be addressed by his ministry.

“The buck stops with the CS. He should take the responsibility for letting his ministry down. He is supposed to have implemented all those policies that he is passing on to his juniors. The President should consider transferring him to another ministry,” Mr Melly said.

His remarks were supported by Committee members James Macharia (Molo) and Ibrahim Sane (Garsen), who said Prof Kaimenyi should take charge of his docket.

Equally disappointed is Kenya National Union of Teachers Secretary-General Wilson Sossion, who said it is wrong for the ministry to abolish ranking without consulting stakeholders to come up with an alternative evaluation mechanism.

“The ministry should not demonise ranking of schools and candidates because it is the standard procedure for many countries including Singapore, which is leading in the education sector in the world,” Mr Sossion said.

He said it is the duty of the ministry to address the cause of examination cheating and other malpractices, and hit out at the ministry for failing to address high dropout rates in schools.

The fate of more than 33 per cent of children who joined free primary education in 2003 is unknown, he said.

The Knut boss said that ranking had brought Kenyans together and made them to work extra hard.

Kenya Private Schools Association Chief Executive Officer Peter Ndoro said they were dissatisfied with the decision to abolish ranking.

“Ranking leads to competition and competition leads to quality in the education,” said Mr Ndoro.

However, Kenya Union of Post Primary Education Teachers Secretary-General Akelo Misori praised the CS, saying, the ban was long overdue.


“The Education Cabinet Secretary’s decision is very bold and a show of leadership because the ranking was based on one examination,” Mr Misori.

His sentiments were shared by Kenya National Association of Parents Secretary-General Musau Ndunda, who said ranking had created unnecessary competition.

“The ban is timely because of the dubious ways that have been used by schools to ensure that they are ranked among the best. We should support the Cabinet Secretary,” he said. -
Nation, Monday December 29, 2014

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