Private school owners cry foul

Private school owners are scheduled to hold a meeting today to discuss the Form One selection, which they claim discriminated against their candidates.


The meeting comes as the Education ministry insists the selection was fair.

Kenya Private Schools Association Chief Executive Officer Peter Ndoro accused the government of hiding behind the quota system to deny well performing but poor pupils from private academies a chance to join national schools.

“It is incorrect to say that poor pupils attend public schools and rich ones attend private schools,” he said.

According to him, only 10 per cent of private schools are attended by children from wealthy backgrounds. “The rest cater for children from poor backgrounds.”

Mr Ndoro said Visa Oshwal, Aga Khan Primary and Nairobi Primary School are some of the elite public schools that took the lion’s share of Form One chances.

TARGET INDIVIDUALS

He said it was unfair that pupils from those institutions had been given an advantage over those from less well performing public schools that are mostly attended by children from very poor families.

“We want a system where the government targets individuals rather than institutions during the Form One selection.

“We would have no problem if even 90 per cent of the slots in national schools were given to pupils from public schools, as long as it is established that the individual pupils indeed come from poor backgrounds,” said Mr Ndoro.

In Eldoret, Education Cabinet Secretary Jacob Kaimenyi on Monday said the selection was fully computerised, making it simple and devoid of human interference.

In a speech read on his behalf by Mr Nelson Sifuna, an official from the Directorate of Secondary and Tertiary Education, during the launch of the 2015 Form One regional selection at Moi Girls’ High School, Prof Kaimenyi dismissed claims that public schools had been favoured.

He said the selection was purely based on candidates’ choices of schools.

“There is no way 85 per cent of candidates from public schools can share equal chances with a mere 14 per cent of their counterparts from private schools,” he said.

LION'S SHARE

He said public schools had taken the lion’s share of slots in national schools, noting that of the 873,809 candidates who sat the KCPE examination in 2014, 756,283 (85.1 per cent) were from public schools, while 131,975, constituting 14.9 per cent, were in private schools.

Of the total candidates, only 695,684 candidates would get a chance to join Form One, he added.

Of those, national schools would admit 20,291 candidates, special needs education schools 996, extra-county schools 66,497, county schools 128,049, sub-county schools 434,040 and private secondary schools would absorb 44,078.

Prof Kaimenyi warned schools against forcing pupils to repeat classes, saying they would be dealt with firmly.

According to a list published by the ministry, private schools only got 3,900 slots out of 17,000, which is roughly 23 per cent of the total.

However, they are entitled to 25 per cent, according to a government-imposed quota.

The Kenya National Parents and Teachers Union wants the system discarded entirely and replaced with a 50-50 sharing of slots between public and private schools. Nation, Monday January 26 2014.

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