Revealed: Kenya’s worst schools

Schools that performed the poorest in last year’s (2011) Form Four national examination can now be named.

More candidates in these schools had a mean grade of E than those with D and above.

Statistics based on the Kenya Certificate of Secondary Education (KCSE) examination results show that 50 schools contributed the largest share of the 6,198 candidates who scored E.

They also accounted for most of the 41,207 candidates who scored D-, an average of only two points per subject, in the results released on Monday. Overall, 56,762 candidates obtained mean grades of D+.

The worst performing school in the country is St Mark’s High School.

The Central Province school had a mean grade of only 1.58, sitting on the edge of D-. Out of 76 candidates, 39 scored E, 29 D- and 7 D. Only one candidate managed a D+.

Second from bottom was Eastern Province’s Kyulu Secondary School which had a performance index of 1.64. The best student in a class of 25 had D, 14 D- and 10 E.

Bute Girls Secondary School in North Eastern Province was the third worst performer. Some 22 of its candidates obtained a mean grade of E, while 13 had D-.

Nairobi’s Guru Nanak Secondary School had a mean of 1.8. Eighteen of its candidates scored E.

Ironically, most of the schools at the bottom end of the table register fewer students than those at the top, raising questions over the ability of teachers to take advantage of smaller class sizes to do a better job.

For instance, Alliance High School that topped the exam results had 214 candidates, although it can be argued that it admits top students and could also be better staffed.

Nyanza Province had the highest number of schools in the bottom 50 institutions. It contributed 17 candidates to the list of failures.

It was followed by Central with 10 schools, Eastern seven, Coast six and Nairobi five. Rift Valley had only two schools on the list, while North Eastern had one.

There was no school from Western on the list.

On Friday, the director of education in charge of secondary schools, Mr Robert Masese, termed the poor performance as worrying.

"This is doing damage to the lives of young people," he said.

In some cases, he said, some communities had given up helping schools within their precincts preferring to send their children to well performing ones away from home.

Mr Masese said the government had set aside money to improve schools in North Eastern Province.

He said drought and insecurity were affecting enrollment and performance, with some children being forced to drop out.

But he also admitted that some of the schools did not have enough teachers, meaning children were inadequately taught.

"We urge parents to augment public resources where they can so these children can learn better," he said.

Saturday Nation investigations established that some teachers in the worst performing schools were sub-contracting Form Four graduates, some of whom scored as low as D+, to teach on their behalf.

This year 213,438 candidates (60 per cent) scored C- and below.

Releasing the results, Prof Ongeri said those who scored above D plain were eligible for further training.

He said the government had provided several options to the 47,405 candidates with D- and below.

They would either join technical institutes for craft courses or resit the examination to improve their grades.

"Our target is, however, to enhance the number of candidates obtaining grade D and above who can go for further training progressively," he said.

Kenya Secondary Schools Heads Association chairman Cleophas Tirop challenged the government to act on poor performers.

"They must spell out a convincing way forward for these candidates," he said.

Mr Tirop said the government needed to perfect the system of selecting students for technical colleges. The Nation FRIDAY, MARCH 4, 2011

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