The public has a right to national exam data

It was with good intentions that the Ministry of Education halted the ranking of schools and individual candidates that always dominated the release of the final end-of-year primary and secondary school examination results.

The rankings had made a mockery of national school examinations, turning everything into a rat race for schools competing to top the league tables.

In the mad rush to top the rankings, many institutions resorted to unconventional methods, including organised fraud involving teachers, parents, students, and examination officials.

However, the solution devised by the ministry and the Kenya National Examinations Council has created its own set of problems.

Doing away with the rankings may be fine, but withholding and treating as top secret essential examination data is not necessarily the best option.

Many interested parties — including students, parents, teachers, and education researchers — would have legitimate claim to the data.

Some may want to compare their performances against others and some may want data on which to evaluate the integrity of the examination system.

This is public information that should be made available to all.

Another issue that should be of concern is that abolishing the rankings was meant to downplay the growing gulf in examination results between public and private schools.

It is an undisputable fact that private schools have been increasingly outperforming public schools, but this situation will not be resolved by hiding the facts.

The best solution will be in acknowledging the problem and then putting in place deliberate interventions to halt the decline by investing in improving the quality of
education offered within the public school system.

Anything else amounts to burying our heads in the sand. Nation, Thursday 5th March 2015

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