Anxiety over ranking as Kaimenyi set to release KCPE results
A full-blown crisis is looming in schools after teachers said they would down their tools on January 5 over a pay dispute.
On Saturday, the Kenya National Union of Teachers (Knut) resolved that its members will go on strike following a stalemate with government in negotiations lasting more than three months.
The strike will only be called off if the government meets teachers’ demands in the next seven days, union secretary general Wilson Sossion said.
Separately, anxiety surrounds the release of the Kenya Certificate of Primary Education (KCPE) results tomorrow following government’s decision to abolish ranking of schools and pupils in national examinations.
Education Cabinet Secretary Jacob Kaimenyi is expected to unveil a new structure to identify students who will be joining Form One next year.
The ban on ranking last month drew mixed reactions from trade unionists and parents.
Traditionally, the highlight of KCPE results has been the unveiling of the top achievers in various categories with pictures of top achievers celebrating in newspaper pages. But tomorrow’s event at Mitihani House in Nairobi will be markedly different.
On Saturday, top officials remained tight-lipped on what candidates, schools and parents should expect. Prof Kaimenyi and Education Principal Secretary Belio Kipsang did not respond to our question on the same. PLACEMENT OF PUPILS
Ranking is usually used for placement of pupils in secondary schools during an elaborate selection process that starts in January.
But the Sunday Nation understands that the Education ministry will use the release of this year’s KCPE examination results for 889,000 candidates to address concerns raised by various stakeholders.
When contacted, the Kenya National Examinations Council (Knec) chief executive officer Joseph Kivilu said the council will rely on instructions to be provided by the ministry.
“Parents and candidates should be patient and wait for that particular day (tomorrow) to know how we will do it, but I do not expect anything new. We will just do things the way we have always done,” said Dr Kivilu.
However, he said it will be upon the ministry to give the standard to be used during the selection to secondary schools.
The government abolished ranking of schools in national examinations to eliminate cut-throat competition among institutions and candidates. The new policy is largely aimed at ending unethical practices by teachers in the rush for top positions. Some of the methods used include forcing weak learners to repeat classes or registering them in satellite schools.
In a circular, the Education PS indicated that Form One selection will be determined by quotas, performance, affirmative action and the candidates’ school choices. Candidates from public primary schools will have an advantage over their counterparts from private schools.
“Ranking of schools and students on the basis of national examination results, therefore, is discontinued with immediate effect,” said Dr Kipsang.
The ban arose from a recommendation by a task force chaired by former Education assistant minister Kilemi Mwiria, which suggested ranking should be holistic and not based on performance in national examinations alone. FAULTED MOVE
Kenya National Union of Teachers Secretary-General Wilson Sossion has, however, faulted the move to abolish ranking.
“It was wrong to ban ranking of schools which is a professional practice done the world over. We know it has challenges but banning it does not, for example, eliminate cheating. We should address challenges of ranking rather than abolishing it altogether,” said Mr Sossion.
He said that institutions could be ranked in their specified categories such as private, day or national schools.
“Banning ranking is going to open a window
of absolute laxity because there will be no targets, nothing to compare yourself with, and no motivation. It was the best thing that we should have never abolished,” said the trade unionist.
But Mr Sossion supports the policy by the government to give preference to candidates from public schools over those from private schools.
“It has helped in improving access to education. It has given equal opportunities to everyone studying under different environments to get the same level of education. It has improved equity, but the government needs to work on quality now,” he said.
Knut had earlier written to the government to demand the reinstatement of ranking of schools and students in national examinations to maintain quality. The giant union demanded further consultations on the issue with stakeholders, adding that the ministry made a “unilateral decision”.
The Education ministry, however, maintained that extensive consultations with stakeholders were made. BAN CONFUSING
Kenyan National Association of Parents secretary-general Musau Ndunda said the ban was confusing.
“The ban is confusing, this is not the first time they have done so. In 2006, former Education minister George Saitoti abolished it, but it slowly came back and no-one spoke. The ban is therefore very loose and doesn’t explain the alternatives we have,” said Mr Ndunda.
Mr Ndunda said that although the new education policy is good, it does not address the high school fees paid in public secondary schools.
“If you look at figures of those admitted to secondary schools, you will learn that about two-thirds of bright pupils actually went to schools other than those they were supposed to join. This is because they came from poor backgrounds. It means that despite being given an opportunity, they will never benefit unless the school fees problem is addressed,” he said.
Kenya Union of Post-Primary Teachers Secretary-General Akello Misori says ranking has been abused and does not reflect the quality of education.
“Some people have engaged in immoral acts just to appear in the newspapers. As a union, we don’t think ranking in Kenya has any value. For example, how does a school that is number one in 2012 become number 12 in 2014. It does not add up,” said Mr Misori.
After the Cabinet Secretary’s address tomorrow, candidates can access the results by sending a text message with the candidate’s index number to the short code 22252. Candidates may also download their results by logging on to the council’s website, www.knec.ac.ke, and keying in their index numbers.
“Upon receipt of the results, thoroughly scrutinise them for correctness and ensure the accuracy of names, index number and gender, school code and the individual subjects,” read a statement from Knec.
Candidates have one month to lodge complaints with Knec.
“Candidates with withheld results will receive a letter through the respective head teacher explaining why the results have been withheld,” the statement says in part. Sunday Nation - December 28, 2014 KCPE Results
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