Thousands to miss out on college training

One out of every three candidates who sat last year’s Form Four examination did not get grades to enter any professional course.

Out of the 446,696 candidates, a total of 141,012 scored grade D and below, which means that on average, they obtained an average of 35 per cent in every subject.

Technically, such candidates cannot be absorbed into a professional course. Entry to popular courses such as teaching and nursing at certificate level requires a minimum C grade at the Kenya Certificate of Secondary Education (KCSE). In addition, the candidate must get strong passes in English, mathematics and the sciences.

Even pre-school teaching colleges only admit those with a minimum of C- grade.

Other professions like the armed forces, including police constables, recruit those with at least grade C. The exception is for the tradespeople such as welders and plant operators and drivers who are employed with grade D+.

Therefore, the best option for candidates with D and below is vocational training in areas such as masonry, plumbing, electrical, carpentry courses, which are offered in technical institutions currently being revitalised by the Education ministry.

An analysis of the results released on Monday by Education Cabinet Secretary Jacob Kaimenyi indicates that 109,334 candidates obtained grades C- and C, placing them in a position to enter professional training.


A total of 123,365 candidates attained grade C+ and above, which qualifies them for university admission. Among them were 2,722 candidates who secured grades A. However, admission is based on cut-off points that are determined by the places available at the universities.

The analysis also shows that chemistry was the worst performed among the main subjects, with candidates getting a mean score of 24.83. English followed in rank, recording a mean score of 27.47 and mathematics 27.58.

The three are compulsory subjects and determine admission to university and other tertiary level institutions.

However, high mean scores were realised in electives such as Music (57.36), Home Science (57.98), Art
and Design (56.00). Generally, these are offered to few students, some as few as 1,200, hence they easily draw high mean scores.

Releasing the results, Prof Kaimenyi highlighted cases where some candidates did not answer exam questions and only wrote their names and submitted the answer sheets.

To end this practice, the secretary decreed that those candidates will not be graded in future, hence will be deemed not to have gone through secondary school education.

"This is a grave issue as it is not possible to go through four years of secondary education and not learn anything that is tested in the examinations. Headteachers and teachers should strive to ensure that learners acquire some knowledge to be able to justify the huge investment made in education in this country," said the education chief.

Another trend observed in the exams is the enrolment of under-age and over-age candidates. The appropriate age for a Form Four candidate is 17 or 18 years.

However, there were many candidates outside that age bracket, demonstrating inefficiency within the system.
- The Nation, March 4, 2014

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