Education Cabinet Secretary (CS), Prof. George Magoha, has told off parents causing uproar that the Form One placement was unfair to students who scored good marks in Kenya Certificate of Primary Education (KCPE), saying that all students were placed in secondary schools that they merit.
Speaking in Thika where he oversaw interviews for students set to benefit from the government’s Elimu Scholarship Programme, Magoha said the cries that top students should have been placed in the top 10 schools nationally is misplaced and only meant to confuse students.
He said the notion had been disapproved by last year’s Kenya Certificate of Secondary Education (KCSE) results where students who got 191 marks in KCPE, recorded University marks of A’s and B’s in KCSE four years later.
He said there is no way the 100,000 pupils who passed well in KCPE can all fit in the 5,000 slots in the top national schools.
“These cries that your children must be called in the top 10 schools must stop. Every school in the country is a good school, because the government gives equal amounts of Sh22, 244 to every child in whichever school the child goes to. It is not the school that will make the child, but the zeal and zest that is in the child,” he said.
He, however said, where a male child has been placed into a female school or vice versa; or where a child has been called into a day school which is too far, the issue will be rectified.
This comes as a section of parents raised alarm that their children despite scoring good marks were not called into the best schools which they had opted for.
Some said despite their children scoring more than 350 marks, they were placed in unheard of schools, some which are too far away.
At the same time, Magoha said they have started to look for primary schools that will be converted into Junior Secondary schools in line with the new curriculum.
He said the priority now is to get the schools and have them furnished with the necessary infrastructure so as to be ready when the transition time comes.
In the new 188.8.131.52.3, the Junior Secondary (grades 7, 8 and 9) and Senior Secondary Education (grades 10, 11 and 12) will each take three years.
He called on politicians not to politicize the exercise, saying it is meant to benefit pupils.
“My remaining 14 months is going to be extremely difficult as we continue to implement the Competency Based Curriculum. At the moment, we are looking for primary schools that will be converted into junior secondary schools and in the budget, we have been awarded Sh.1.9 billion to furnish them with tables and chairs. Let’s not politicize the exercise,” he said.
On the school in Nyandarua County where some students were sent home after being infected with Covid-19 virus, Magoha termed it a non-issue, saying they will ensure all students are safe.
“We have millions of learners in our schools so, why do you want to make noise when six or 10 of them get Covid. This is not an issue at all. If we weren’t bold enough to reopen schools in August last year and January, would these children be here today to get scholarships to go to high school?’’ posed Magoha.
The scholarships will be offered to 9,000 students with 3,000 being offered to those who live in the slums and informal settlements.
By Muoki Charles