Ensure transition to Form One takes all

Thursday, December 22nd, 2022 06:40 | By
Ensure transition to Form One takes all

The second last Kenya Certificate of Primary Education (KCPE) exam results are out in good time, giving parents, guardians and candidates sufficient time to prepare for Form One intake early next year.

Kenya, without a doubt, has made great strides in democratising education, starting with the landmark decision in 2003 that made primary education free and compulsory. This was an important step in eradicating extreme poverty although robust enforcement is still needed to ensure that all children of school-going age actually attend classes even when they are put under pressure to work or care for relatives.

Equally important was the decision to make the transition to Form One universal. This directive still faces challenges as there are cost implications involved and there is a huge swathe of parents who are too poor to put their children through secondary education. Be that as it may, the provincial administration should monitor candidates within their jurisdictions to ensure that when schools open next month, all who sat this year’s KCPE actually report to school.

There are numerous bottlenecks that, without gainsaying, stand in the way of this noble principle, the first being lack of sufficient Form One places to accommodate all the 1.233 million candidates who sat KCPE.

Historically, Kenya has had a disproportionately higher number of primary schools, and this has increased competition for Form One places. Commendably, the government has been seeking ways to reduce this cutthroat competition, embodied in the quest by schools and candidates to score high marks, a quest that sometimes opens avenues for exam irregularities.

Given this scenario, and the 100 per cent transition policy, there will be a need for the Education Ministry to put in place a programme that will lead to medium and long-term investments in building more classrooms in secondary schools to address the perennial shortage.

 The second is the dispute over the legality of the National Government Constituency Development Fund, which has in the past supported needy students with bursaries. Although the Treasury has indicated it will disburse funds to the kitty, the proposed schedule might lock out some deserving beneficiaries if the money is released late.

Whatever programmes are put in place, it is important to also invest in parent/guardian education so that they understand their children stand a better chance of economic advancement over time if they remain in school longer.

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