Council withholds overall examination results

The Kenya National Examinations Council on Monday withheld the overall Kenya Certificate of Primary Education examination results to stop publication of lists of top candidates.

This was in compliance with a ban on ranking of schools and candidates imposed by Education Cabinet Secretary Jacob Kaimenyi.

While acknowledging that ranking had its merits, Prof Kaimenyi outlined 11 demerits, which, he said, had led the Ministry of Education to discontinue the practice.

Using only mean scores to rank schools did not give a conclusive assessment of the learning process because all schools, irrespective of the resources at their disposal were subjected to the same ranking criteria, he said.

“Some schools are better endowed than others,” he said, arguing that it would be unfair, for instance, to rank schools with electricity and better management against those without such advantages.

He also said that some schools had been using unscrupulous means to get into the merit list.

“This causes unnecessary suffering to students when they are forced to repeat classes or are transferred from private to public schools,” he told education officials, who had attended the release of the examination results at the Mitihani House in Nairobi on Monday.

Prof Kaimenyi took a swipe at what he called “unnecessary competition” between schools seeking to be ranked among the best performers nationally.

According to him, ranking failed to take into consideration that some schools had better infrastructure than others.

In his view, it would be unfair, for instance, to compare schools in which pupils used computers and those that did not have such learning tools.

He also lamented that the over-emphasis on academic excellence had led to the neglect of the arts, music and physical education.

He said that some schools were engaged in the uneconomical practice of limiting admission so
that they could have fewer students in order to register better mean scores.

Private schools have discretion on admission numbers, but public schools are required by law to admit all children seeking admission as part of the government’s free primary education programme introduced in 2003.

Prof Kaimenyi accused some teachers of focusing on teaching facts to improve academic performance, a practice, he said, converts students into robots.


Ranking also demoralises teachers and students in poor performing schools and counties, exposing them to stigmatisation.

“All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy or a dull girl. Do you want our children to be dull?” he asked.

He urged the media and other unauthorised institutions not to engage in “Kienyeji” ranking of schools. -
Nation, Monday December 29, 2014.

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