Stakeholders poke holes in Form One selection

Monday, December 9th, 2019 00:00 | By
Education CS George Magoha briefs the press during 15th annual Kepsha meeting in Mombasa, last week. BELOW: Head teachers peruse new curriculum textbooks on sale during the forum. Photo/PD/BONFACE MSANGI

Harrison Kivisu and Mathew Ndungu 

The government’s plan to admit more than a million students who sat KCPE this year to national, extra-county and county schools is not achievable in the current state of infrastructure in most institutions,  teachers say. 

The Form One selection process for 1,075,201 out of 1,083,456 candidates to public schools has triggered headache for heads of public secondary schools, which already face infrastructural challenges due to the huge number of students likely to join the institutions.

Already, Kenya National Union of Teachers (Knut), Kilindini (Mombasa) branch secretary Dan Aloo has called on the government to expand the facilities in anticipation of the ballooning admissions.  

Aloo says no child should miss a slot because it is upon the State to ensure quality education for all. “We do not have enough space to accommodate all the pupils because the few public institutions we have are already overstretched,” said Aloo.

He said some deserving students will miss slots in national schools since the vacancies are limited.

However, he challenged those who fail to get slots in schools of their choice to consider other options to avoid missing out in the government scholarship programmes lined up by January.

“You can see this government doesn’t want to employ teachers or expand schools. They will have no option than to congest students, which is now dangerous,” Aloo said on the sidelines of the Kenya Primary School Heads Association (Kepsha) conference in Mombasa last week. 

He spoke  even as parents continue to condemn the Form One selection process. Some parents have found out that their children had been selected to join schools, which they had either not chosen or do not reflect the candidates’ performances.

“We thought that with the new systems installed by the ministry, there would be transparency in the matter,” said Joseph Mwangi, a Thika parent whose son had chosen Alliance Boys, but has been admitted to Kapsabet Boys, Nandi county. 

Education Cabinet Secretary George Magoha launched the Form One selection on Monday last week with an assurance that it would be conducted with the highest level of integrity to ensure candidates join schools of choice based on merit. 

But while addressing the Kepsha conference in Mombasa on Tuesday, Magoha blamed pupils who missed opportunities in national schools for failure to make the correct choices. He maintained that the selection process was thorough and transparent. 

“They were placed in their first choices and the schools they are crying foul about were not their number one choice; you can go and cross check our data, it’s available,” said Magoha. 

“I am asking you to develop a tracking system in your individual schools to ensure you work with chiefs and education and Teachers Service Commission (TSC)  field officers to account for all your 2019 candidates,” Magoha told the head teachers. 

He added: “We will expect daily reports from yourselves showing the progress of Form One admission of all candidates who sat the KCPE at your institutions.”

Credit Reference Bureau 

Over a million other students who were below the 400-mark will be joining extra-county and county schools in a move that Knut secretary general Thika region, Joe Mungai  says is not logical.

“Apart from infrastructural challenges, the 100 per cent transition policy could reduce the quality of education,” he said.

Mungai said the move would have serious financial implications on parents and the State should put in place the desired infrastructure and sufficient manpower.

“Student-teacher ratios must be looked into. We have enough trained tutors who are jobless out there who should now be hired,” he added.

Mungai said the ministries of Public Works and Defence should advise stakeholders on the basic requirements necessary to put up structures.

“Able parents who default on school fees should also be listed with CRB (Credit Reference Bureaus) so that these funds can be used for development. “CDF and other public sources must up their game by releasing the funds on time,” he added. 

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