What you need to know:
- Latest statistics is a damning indictment on testing systems in the country
The wastage of the education system was laid bare at a headteachers’ conference in Mombasa after new statistics showed that nearly half of the 1.3 million Form Four candidates over the past four years were failures.
A total of 596,895 candidates scored mean grades of between D+ and E, hardly enough to get them into middle level colleges.
Of these, 18,798 scored E, meaning they got just one point in each of the seven subjects tested in the Kenya Certificate of Secondary Education (KCSE) examination.
“This is sad and shocking,” said Secondary Schools Heads Association chairman Cleophas Tirop, who released the statistics at the meeting at Wild Waters Centre.
“All it takes to score an E is for my grandmother to get to the exam room and write her name on all the answer scripts without doing anything else,” he said.
A total of 4,013 candidates scored mean grades of A plain.
Only 24 per cent of candidates who sat examinations over the past five years had attained the minimum university entry grade of C+, he said.
Mr Tirop’s presentation was a damning indictment of the country’s education system, labelled a “consumer of billions of taxpayers” shillings without returns.
Based on the statistics, Mr Tirop put the Kenya National Examinations Council in the dock, questioning the validity of national examinations.
He said they failed to test candidates properly and questioned the worth of investments in secondary schools when the wastage rate was so high.
“This raises serious questions on curriculum delivery in our schools,” he said.
Mr Tirop, who was setting the agenda of the five-day meeting, said there was a link between mass failures of high school students and the increasing rates of crime.
He made a push for the review of the education system to cater for the interests of students who had talent in co-curricular activities.
Such a system would also ensure learners have free time to relax unlike the current one, in which extra tuition was the norm for most classes.
“Our education is teaching-centred; it allows for little creativity,” he said.
The system also emphasised white collar jobs at the expense of self-reliance, he said.
The chairman said the conference would assess the suitability of the quota system of admissions to schools.
Vice-President Kalonzo Musyoka, who was expected to open the meeting today, will address the teachers on Wednesday.