How ‘small’ schools fell the mighty

Wednesday, November 20th, 2019 00:00 | By

A number of little known schools turned tables on the traditional academic giants to claim the lion’s share of top positions in this year’s Kenya Certificate of Primary Education (KCPE) examination results released on Monday.

At least 9,770 candidates scored 400 marks and above in the exam, with the numbers spread across top performing schools and little known public and private primary schools.

Among the schools which produced a big number of candidates with 418 marks and above, were High Peak in Naivasha with 43 candidates, Kathigiri Boarding in Meru (24) Makini School, (22) and Lions Nakuru (21). 

Others that performed exceptionally well included Lizar Junior also from Naivasha, Sukari Presbyterian, Kitengela International School and Mwiki Goodhope Academy, each with 18 candidates in that category.

The management of one of the emerging academic giants, Sukari Presbyterian Academy Ruiru, praised the government’s measures that curbed cheating, adding that this had created a level playing field and ensured credibility of the results.

Head teacher, Leah Mwangi, attributed the school’s good grades to faith in God, hard work,  diligence and the level playing ground created by strict invigilation. “We are really excited for being top in the country. Faith in God, hard work and diligence have seen us achieve all these,” she said.

 “The various tricks that were previously used by certain schools to remain on top have all been sealed and this level playing field is going to see the emergence of new academic giants. It also gives every school and candidate an opportunity to excel,” Mwangi added. The headteacher of Kathigiri Boarding School in Meru, which appears to have emerged the best overall public school, Josleen Mugambi, attributed the impressive performance to teachers’ commitment.

“A few years back our school was among the poorest performers but due to the commitment and dedication of our team of teachers, we are able to fight against the best. But on top of all these, is the government’s decision to introduce strict conditions that have eliminated cheating by some private academies,” she said.

Happyland Preparatory School in Nairobi, Moi Kabarak and Magadi Soda Primary had 17 pupils with 418 marks and above, while Christ the King had 15 candidates, as Fesbeth Academy in Kakamega produced 14.

Other top performers included Ruaraka Academy and Hill School with 13 candidates each in that category; St Mary’s Girls Primary in Molo, Riara, Rockfields Junior School, Umoja and Whitestar Academy in Langata in Nairobi with 12 each; Pen-Elite with 11 pupils; and Fred’s Academy in Meru, KBA School in Kahawa West and St Peter’s Capeview which had 10 candidates each. Molo Academy had nine students scoring more than 418 marks, Kericho Primary, while Little Lambs School-Wareng, Scholastica Catholic School, St Peter’s Elite and Riara Springs had eight candidates each.

Speaking to People Daily,  Rockfields Junior School Deputy headteacher and curriculum coordinator Barasa Clarence, said the school had 52 candidates scoring above 400 marks and attributed the excellent performance to completing the syllabus on time.

“Though we are happy with the performance, we are equally saddened that we have dropped this year compared to last year,” he said.

In the Rift Valley region, academic giant Moi Primary School-Kabarak maintained its dominance in the region’s ranking after producing more than 80 candidates with more than 400 marks. 

The school emerged among top schools in the region with a mean score of 389.91 in this year’s exam, an improvement from last year’s mean score of 389.24.  Other than the collective good performance, the school produced some of the region’s top girls and boys even as private schools continued to impress in the  KCPE exam. 

Best girl

Esther Nyakweya emerged the best girl in the institution with 431 marks followed by Kibiwott Asaph who was the best boy with 430 marks. 

Moi Kabarak headteacher Nelson Kiptoo lauded the improvement from last year, saying it was teachers’ joy to see students achieve their targets and attributed the success to hard work and cooperation.

“There is a great improvement as most candidates met their targets, hard work and team effort has been our resolve all through and we gave the students the best during their time in school,” he said. 

Nyakweya could not hide her joy and hopes to join Alliance Girls High School as she attributed her success to hard work and prayer. 

“I expected to perform well, but this is a great result, I am very happy and hope to make it to Alliance Girls’ High School; my secret is hard work and putting God first,” she said. 

The school posted improved performances in languages with a mean grade of 81.26 in Kiswahili, 84 in English, 72.9 in Science, 76 in Maths and 75 in Social Studies. 

It had 179 candidates and produced 82 pupils with more than 400 marks, an improvement from last year’s 77.  At least 84 pupils scored between 350 and 399 marks with 12 candidates posting between 300 and 349 marks. The only candidate who scored less than 300 marks had 272 marks. 

—Reporting by Irene Githinji, Milliam Murigi, Roy Lumbe, Dorcas Mbatia and Tom Rachuonyo

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