Teachers' strike to blame for poor performance of public schools

Aggrey Akhanyinya Wabuko of St Joseph’s Academy in Kakamega County broke the record when he topped this year’s Kenya Certificate of Primary Education examinations with 449 marks, registering the highest score in seven years.


Coming second were four candidates who tied with 446 marks.

They were Lenox Kirianki of PCEA Kathingiri Boarding Primary School in Meru, Winstone Muraga Macharia and Cindy Marren Mustapha both of St Mary’s Ruaraka School, Nairobi and Collins Kipkoech of Chelsa Academy.

The other top performers were Felista Osebe Onduso of Gilgil Hills Academy, Nakuru with 445 marks, Nderi Nelly Muthoni of Mwiki Good Hope Academy, Nairobi and Evans Musyoka Sila, Premese Makueni Academy, Makueni at 443.

Following were a set of candidates who had 441 marks, two of them, Trezoh Birhange and Daniel Ngira, were from Moi Educational Centre in Nairobi.

The others were: Swan Nyamasege, Rockfield Junior School, Nairobi County, Serphine Gertrude Amondi Okeyo of Acacia Crest Academy, Kitengela, Kajiado.

The best girl overall was Cindy Marren Mustapha of Ruaraka Academy who scored 446 marks and followed by Felistus Onduso Osebe of Gilgil Hills School with 445 marks and was followed by Rhoda Engefu of St Kevin Hill School Nyali with 444 and Nderi Nelly Muthoni, Mwiki Good Hope Academy, Nairobi with 443 marks.

Other top ranking girls were Trizah Auma Aduda of Moi Educational Centre, Nairobi, Mary Mutua of Star Sheikh Academy, Athi River, Machakos, and Jane Wanjiru Njoroge of Little Friends Academy, Naivasha in Nakuru County, all with 437 marks.

In the results released Wednesday by Education Cabinet Secretary Fred Matiang’i, there were 7,560 candidates with more than 400 marks.

THE TASK AHEAD

Overall, there were 455,221 candidates or 49.07 per cent, who crossed the 50 per cent mark, which is an aggregate of 250 marks.

Technically, they are considered to have passed.

The challenge, however, is that those with less than 300 marks have difficulty securing Form One places in good secondary schools.

Form One admission will commence on January 21.

This year’s performance was a record of sorts.

The top candidate scored 449 out of possible 500 marks, the highest since 2008, when Monica Wairimu Mutinda of Hill Gate Academy, Mombasa, scored 460 marks.

Last year, the top candidate was Tracy Achieng Okwach of New Elite Academy with 441 marks while the best scorers in 2013 were Kimutai Brian of Stewards Academy Nandi and Daphine Akoth Otieno of Golden Lite Academy, Kisumu, both with 444 marks.

Enrolment also rose significantly this year. Some 927,789 candidates sat the examinations in 25,127 centres compared to 880,486 in 24,260 centres in 2014.

This represented a 5.37 per cent increase from the previous year.

Out of the candidates, there were 459,885 girls compared to 467,904 boys, representing a gender ratio of 49.60 to 50.40.

Another notable trend was the increasing number of counties with higher female candidates than boys.

There were more girls registered in 23 out of 47 counties, among them Nairobi, Nakuru, Bungoma, Kakamega, Kiambu, Kitui, Machakos, Meru and Kisii.

Others were Meru, Kericho, Uasin Gishu, Siaya, Trans Nzoia, Nandi, Nyandarua, Embu, Vihiga, Nyamira, Elgeyo Marakwet, Kirinyaga, Makueni and Tharaka Nithi.

However, significant gender disparities were recorded in five counties: Mandera, Garissa, Turkana, Wajir and Samburu, where less than 40 per cent of the candidates were girls.

PUBLIC SCHOOLS' MISFORTUNES

Among the top performing schools was Star Sheikh, Kitengela, where more than 70 candidates scored above 400 marks.

Moi Educational Centre, Nairobi, also posted excellent grades, with more than 40 candidates scoring more than 400 marks.

PCEA Kathigiri of Meru also had 40 candidates out of 57 obtaining more than 400 marks.

Releasing the results, Dr Matiang’i expressed concerns over the poor performance of public schools compared to private ones whose performance had improved.

The mean score for public schools went down by seven percentage points, from 187.58 in 2014 to 180.87 this year; a fact attributed to several causes, among them, teachers’ strikes, chronic teacher absenteeism and inadequate teaching and learning facilities.

Dr Matiang’i said in some counties, teacher absenteeism had hit a record 70 per cent, meaning they only taught for three months in a year.

“This decrease in mean score could be attributed to the lack of teaching and learning during the five-week teachers’ strike that preceded the administration of the examinations,” he said adding: “It is my belief that labour disputes can be resolved amicably through dialogue without negatively affecting learning and teaching process.”

A significant development this year was the rising cases of exam cheating, with the reported incidents rising to 2,709 candidates in 111 centres, compared to 1,702 in 93 centres last year.

Kenya National Examinations Council (Knec) Chief Executive Officer Joseph Kivilu said results of the candidates have been withheld but the schools have been informed accordingly.

Dr Kivilu said some 157 people, including teachers, police officers and university students, had been arrested and arraigned in courts for exam cheating.

He said further investigations were being conducted.

MATIANG'I CONCERNED

However, Dr Matiang’i was upset about the numerous cases of irregularities and read the Riot Act to the Kenya National Examinations Council management, directing the team to do whatever it can to eliminate cheating once for all.

“Exam cheating is the lowest form of intellectual dishonesty and the council must take responsibility and ensure the vice is eliminated,” said Dr Matiang’i. “You have 12 months to prepare for exams and there is no excuse why you cannot put in place stringent measures to curb cheating.”

Exam cheating was recorded in 35 out of the 47 counties.

Only 12 counties were given a clean bill of health in this regard; Taita Taveta, Mombasa, Kilifi, Tana River, Nyeri, Kiambu, Kirinyaga, Marsabit, Uasin Gishu, Kajiado, Elgeyo Marakwet and Siaya.

Earlier, the chairman of the exam council, Prof Kabiru Kinyanjui, had spelt out measures to end the irregularities.

Among others, he said the council was reviewing all its administrative and structural systems and technology to end cheating.

There were widespread reports this year about massive exam cheating but the council kept denying them, even when the media was able to reproduce them. - Daily Nation, Thursday, December 31, 2015.
http://www.nation.co.ke/news/Public-schools-performance-drops-/-/1056/3015838/-/11hfh8q/-/index.html

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