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Principals cautioned against turning away Form One students over school fees

School Principals in public institutions have been warned against turning away needy students even after the Government extended the reporting dates for Form One  admission to Friday  this  week.

Addressing  a County Development Implementation and Coordination Committee (CDICC) meeting  on Wednesday, the  Machakos County Commissioner (CC), Esther  Maina said the government is keen in ensuring all pupils who sat for last year’s KCPE exams join secondary school by January 24.

Maina  said sub county Education officers should collaborate with the local administrators to make sure all those who sat for last year’s KCPE exams do not remain at home but join secondary school in line with the Government’s move to attain a 100 per cent transition from Primary to Secondary Schools.

She similarly revealed that out of 34,914 students who were expected to join Form one in Machakos county this month ,79 per cent or 28,063 have already reported with ,6965 still unaccounted for.

“We have a 79 per cent transition rate as of today (January 22) out of the number of students who were supposed to join form one in Machakos County. This figure is nevertheless not impressive since we need to attain a 100 per cent transition rate as per the government guidelines .We therefore urge school principals, sub county directors of education and our chiefs to work hand in hand in ensuring we mop up any remaining student who might still be at home and make sure they report to school,” she said.

Last  week, the Education CS Prof. George Magoha while inspecting the ongoing Form One registration exercise at Machakos Boys High School insisted that no Principal should turn any student away due to lack of school fees.

He said any needy student who turns up in school for the ongoing Form one admission should be allowed in school as avenues are sought to raise the required fees.

Maina  has also urged the County Director of Education’s office to look into the performance of the county in national exams which has been on a nose dive over the years.

She said majority of public schools in the area were posting very low grades in both KCPE and KCSE exams and measures should be taken to turn round the current situation, including dealing with non performing teachers.

“We need to look into the management of our schools and ensure we maintain the same number of students we admitted in Form One all the way to Form Four. In addition the issue of teachers who have ceased to perform after staying in one station for years should be looked into to ensure we improve the performance of our schools which has not been impressive for some time ,” added the Commissioner.

On  her part, the County Director of Education, Shamsha  Adan said the department was doing all it could to ensure there is improvement in performance by public schools.

She told the meeting they had already visited 70 schools in the county and carried Standard Assessment exercise to ascertain the gaps that could be contributing to poor performance in both primary and secondary schools before coming up with redress mechanisms.

She however, defended the school heads in the county against allegations that some Form one students have been denied admission due to lack of fees saying the reports were false.

“Our Principals are not turning away any Form One student from school due to lack of fees. What we are getting are mere allegations from parents and some section of the media which should be treated as such. The only challenge we have at the moment is as a result of students who transferred to other schools and therefore cannot be tracked in the National Education Management Information System (NEMIS),”she explained. “

The Education official has also insisted that no students will be left out in the ongoing enrolment exercise, including those who scored low grades after the Ministry of Educational allocated them places in sub county schools.

Last year, 24,353 class eight pupils from Machakos sat for KCPE exams.

A total of 1,089,671 candidates sat for the KCPE exams in the country compared to 1,060,703 in 2018.

A total of 9,770 candidates who sat for the exams were set to join the 136 national schools in the country after scoring more than 400 marks.

Another 243,320 were expected join Extra County and county schools after posting 300 to 399 marks.

Overall all those who sat for this year’s KCPE exams are expected to join secondary schools as the government strives to attain a 100 per cent transition rate to secondary schools.

By  Samuel Maina

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