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[December 29, 2006]

KCPE - Public Schools Feel Heat

(AllAfrica.com English Via Thomson Dialog NewsEdge) Nairobi, Dec 29, 2006 (The East African Standard/All Africa Global Media via COMTEX) --Public schools, especially those in rural areas, were the heaviest casualties in this year's Kenya Certificate of Primary Education (KCPE) results.

Candidates from Nairobi dominated the top 100 positions, while none of the pupils from North Eastern Province (NEP) appear in the list.

Like in previous years since the liberalisation of the education sector, private schools (known as academies) across the country continued to scoop top positions.

Eldoret Municipality led the districts while Tana River brought up the rear.

Nairobi also dominated the list of top 10 students in the KCPE results released yesterday by Education minister Prof George Saitoti.

ICT used to release the results

This year's exams were the first under a new curriculum that was implemented in phases.

It is also the first time ICT is being used to release the results, which are available online and by SMS service.

Wamugi David Wanjuki of St Mary's Academy, Ruaraka, (Nairobi) topped in this year's exams with 453 marks followed by Kimokoti Sandra N of Makini School, Nairobi, and Muriithi Gitonga Paul of Lepic Academy, Riruta Satellite (Nairobi) both of whom had 447 marks out of the possible 500.

First runners up: Muriithi G Paul

Others in the best 10 positions countrywide were: Ngunjiri Morgan Muchemi (Central, 445); Mutua Samuel Malu (Nairobi, 445); Nyarangi Anthony Momanyi (Rift Valley, 445); Mwanzia Kelvin Mutevu (Nairobi, 444); Ngatia Wanjiru Joan (Nairobi, 444); Namachanja Linda Vihenda (Rift Valley, 444) and Gachago Gibson Ngumi (Rift Valley, 444).

Decline in the top marks

Although the Education minister praised this year's performance as having improved, there was a marked decline in the marks scored by the best student.

While this year's best student had 453 marks, last year's top student had 461 marks.

None of the best candidates this year would have made it in the list of top 10 students countrywide last year.

In last year's exam results, the best student in the country was Oduol Fredrick Constant who had 461 marks.

This year, Nairobi had six students in the list of the best 10 students countrywide and 48 among the best 100.

Boys outperformed girls, with only 43 girls managing to appear in the list of 100 best students. Only three girls were ranked among the 10 best students.

Private schools outshined public schools

Central Province closely followed Nairobi with 24 students among the 100 best students while Rift Valley had 23 students.

Having produced a majority of the best performing students, private schools outshined public schools.

Majority of the best 10 students were from private schools.

And in a rare twist, the Kenya National Examinations Council (KNEC) resumed the district performance ranking years after it had abandoned the system.

In the districts ranking, closely following Eldoret Municipality were Nairobi, Thika Municipality, Baringo, Kitale Municipality, Koibatek, Mombasa Municipality, Keiyo, Uasin Gishu and Kirinyaga districts respectively.

No student in NEP appeared in the top 100

second runners up: Ngunjiri M M

NEP, Nyanza and Coast Provinces were among the poorest performers with none of the students in NEP appearing in the top 100 students countrywide.

The best student from NEP had 420 marks.

Nyanza Province had only three students among the best 100 countrywide, with its best performer being ranked 22nd with 441 marks.

The other two candidates were ranked in position 100 with 435 marks.

From Coast Province, only four students made it to the list of 100 best students, with the best being ranked in position 30 with 440 marks.

Although Eldoret Municipality was ranked as the best district, none of its students was among the 10 best countrywide.

Indeed, only three students from Rift Valley Province, all of them from Nakuru District, were among the best 10 students countrywide.

Improved performance in all subjects

Tana River, Kwale, Kitui, Lamu, South Kisii, Mandera, North Kisii, Meru South, Taita Taveta, Central Kisii and Meru Central districts were ranked as the poorest performing in that order.

The poorest performing district (Tana River) had a mean score of 217.49 as compared to 277.67 of the best performer.

Releasing the results at his Jogoo House office, Nairobi, an upbeat Prof Saitoti said there was an improved performance in all the five subjects offered in the KCPE examination.

"I wish to particularly note improved performance in science where the national mean rose from 46.90 to 53.94," he said.

He added: "I also wish to note that the number of candidates who obtained 250 marks and above increased from 315,635 out of 671,550 candidates in 2005 to 318,806 out of 666,451 candidates this year."

Girls performed better than last year

Wahome Njeri Victor, 14, who took 9th position in Western Province, is mobbed by teachers at her former school, Kakamega Rehabilitation, on Thursday. She scored 434 marks.

Picture by Isaac Wale

The minister was accompanied by Education Assistant ministers Dr Kilemi Mwiria and Beth Mugo, Education Permanent Secretary Prof Karega Mutahi, Kenya National Examinations Council chairman Prof Raphael Munavu and CEO Mr Paul Wasanga.

The minister noted that girls performed much better as compared to last year. They had a marked improvement in sciences and mathematics, traditionally their worst subjects.

The minister noted that girls improved in science performance from a mean of 47.08 last year to 49.38 per cent. In mathematics, their mean improved from 44.0 to 51.20 per cent.

This year, 352,782 boys sat the exam as compared to 313,669 girls.

This year, said the minister, 231 low vision students, 105 mentally-handicapped, 381 deaf and 65 blind candidates sat the examination.

Gender disparities still evident

He said 10,322 candidates from 203 non-formal schools sat for the exam compared with 8,775 candidates from 155 non-formal schools last year.

Nairobi and Eastern Provinces were cited as among the provinces where gender parity has been realised.

However, Coast, Nyanza and NEP had gender disparities skewed in favour of boys.

The minister noted that the examination was administered in 20 refugee camps with the largest camp, Dagahaley, having 584 candidates.

Only 308 candidates were involved in examination cheating this year as compared to 353 last year.

Prof Saitoti said the ministry targets to have a transition rate from primary to secondary level of 70 per cent by 2008 from the current 57 per cent.

Copyright 2006 The East African Standard. Distributed by AllAfrica Global Media (allAfrica.com).

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