What you need to know:
- Under the new rules, the 103 national schools are grouped into four clusters, with each candidate required to pick only one school from each cluster.
- The schools include Alliance Boys, Alliance Girls, Mangu High, Maseno, Starehe Boys, Starehe Girls, Nairobi School, Lenana School and the Kenya High School.
- The government argues that the new guidelines will see more candidates from marginalised areas join national schools.
Standard Eight pupils will only be allowed to pick one elite national school when making their choices.
The new guidelines are aimed at eliminating the cut-throat competition by Kenya Certificate of Primary Education (KCPE) examination candidates for places in the so-called elite 18 national schools at the expense of the other 85 across the country.
Under the new rules, the 103 national schools are grouped into four clusters, with each candidate required to pick only one school from each cluster.
The 18 schools considered more prestigious than the recently gazetted are all in the third cluster, meaning no candidate can select any two of them.
The schools include Alliance Boys, Alliance Girls, Mangu High, Maseno, Starehe Boys, Starehe Girls, Nairobi School, Lenana School and the Kenya High School.
Others are Moi Forces Lanet, Moi Forces Academy, Utumishi Academy, Moi Girls Eldoret, Nakuru Boys, Nakuru Girls, Maryhill Girls, Loreto Limuru and Limuru Girls.
A total of 30 national schools, most of which used to be top provincial schools, have been lumped in cluster one.
They include Pangani Girls, Maranda Boys, Lugulu Girls, Friends School Kamusinga, Meru School, Kapsabet Boys, Kisii School, Kakamega School and Mama Ngina Girls in Mombasa.
The second and fourth clusters have 25 and 30 schools, respectively, mainly from marginalised counties like Tana River, Marsabit, Mandera, Wajir, Turkana, Kajiado, Lamu, Samburu and West Pokot.
A FAIR DEAL
According to education stakeholders, the new guidelines will eliminate the bias towards the elite schools.
“The original national schools remain the most popular among parents and students so you find everybody selecting them at the expense of the other schools, which are equally good,” said Kenya Union of Post Primary Education Teachers (Kuppet) Secretary-General Akelo Misori.
“The new guidelines are not full-proof though. The lasting solution is to put all public schools at par with the Mangus and Alliances of this world,” he said.
Education Cabinet Secretary Jacob Kaimenyi said the guidelines will help in the proportionate sharing of national and extra-county school places between public and private schools.
It will also give candidates a chance to join national schools, even if not of their preferred choice, he added.
An example was given of how 165,000 female candidates who sat last year’s KCPE examination all listed Alliance Girls as their number one choice. The school has only 200 places.
The government argues that the new guidelines will see more candidates from marginalised areas join national schools.
“To recognise merit, the top five candidates of either gender in each sub-county will be placed in national schools of their choice where possible, irrespective of whether from public or private primary schools,” the guidelines state.
Currently, only the top three candidates of either gender are picked for national schools.
The top three will be selected first across all sub-counties and the remaining two will be based on candidature strength.