Ensure that KCPE results do not spell doom for young Kenyans

KCPE candidates

Some of the Class Eight candidates at St Peters Girls Primary School in Elburgon, Nakuru County take a selfie after prayers on March 01, 2022. 

Photo credit: John Njoroge | Nation Media Group

What you need to know:

  • The highest score was 428 with 11,857 candidates scoring the 400+ mark highly coveted for national secondary schools entry.
  • However, 72.37 per cent of the examined candidates scored below 300 out of possible expected 500 marks.

Kenya Certificate of Primary Education (KCPE) 2021 examination results were released early this week. A major cause of anxiety to candidates and their parents and guardians is the sitting of the national examinations, waiting for the results and their subsequent release.

To show the seriousness of the results, the Cabinet Secretary for Education was accompanied by senior officials from the ministry of Education and its affiliate agents.

The highest score was 428 with 11,857 candidates scoring the 400+ mark highly coveted for national secondary schools entry. Noteworthy is that private schools bounced back, which many feared might not happen after public schools made a comeback into the limelight in the previous year.

However, 72.37 per cent of the examined candidates scored below 300 out of possible expected 500 marks. Sadly, 1,170 scored 100 marks and below.

While all these children have been promised 100 per cent transition to secondary schools, this is easier said than done. For instance 11,000 pupils had registered for the examination but did not turn up for the same. Nothing was done to find out why they did not write the examination.

In many ethnic communities, KCPE marks a transition of many children from childhood to adulthood. In some communities, this is signified by initiation ceremonies such as circumcision of boys in most cultures.

In the contemporary society churches are organising seminars for girls to educate them on matters puberty and teenage life. Female circumcision is still practiced by some communities, though secretly. This notwithstanding, these are still children as majority are only 13 years old.

It is after KCPE that early marriages happen. In addition, some of these children will get involved in earning a living for themselves or for their families in poverty ridden communities. Some will be illegally employed as house-helps, farm hands, in quarries, construction companies and in coffee and tea plantations.

School dropout cases

The worst bit is that others will go to the streets to hawk on behalf of their parents or exploitative merchants. Despite the law prohibiting child abuse and gainful employment, the government has not been aggressive in its enforcement.

While the ministry of Education has been aggressive in tracing the KCPE candidates to join form one, the same does not happen for those who did not sit this examination. Education wastage occurs when children fail to sit for national examinations in basic education or even fail to transit to the next level.

School dropout cases have been a common phenomenon in our society. This leads to so many unskilled and unemployed youths who grow up to engage in illegal, immoral and criminal activities. The government should ensure none of the candidates gets wasted despite the dismal performance by some.

Some pupils who expected to achieve ‘good’ marks didn’t, hence getting traumatised. In the recent past, there have been increased cases of suicidal thoughts among the young people. The parents or guardians and community should move in with speed to help children who did not perform well to cope. Guidance and counselling will be an essential component in these kind of situations. Parents should be keen on how they handle their children. Insensitive and irresponsible comments should be avoided by all.

In spite of the CS directing the head teachers to release the result slips to the respective children, a section of them from the private sector have already raised an outcry. Their concern is that they will not be able to ‘force’ the parents to clear school fees arrears.

The result slips, the leaving certificates and certificates from the Kenya National Examination Council are used as a bait to ensure fees arrears are cleared. The CS and education officers on the ground must implement this directive. These are essential documents that the individuals require in joining and applying for replacement in case a child is admitted in a school they do not like.

The form one placement should be prudently undertaken. Let all KCPE candidates be placed in the schools they selected. This will reduce cases of parents travelling all over the country requesting for a chance in specific schools.

Parents should also resist the temptation of pushing for a vacancy in schools beyond the child’s performance. If that happens the child is likely to get frustrated and may even indulge in antisocial behaviour.

Dr Wanjohi Githinji is an educationist and currently a lecturer at Kenyatta University

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