Kabarak basks in national glory as school tops exam 

Kabarak High School

Larry Mule is hoisted shoulder-high by teachers and parents at Moi High School Kabarak in Nakuru on January 8, 2024, scoring an A Plain grade in the 2023 KCSE examination.

Photo credit: Boniface Mwangi | Nation Media Group

What you need to know:

  • While Kabarak is a private school, most of the top slots are dominated by public national and extra-county schools. 
  • The KCSE results showed an increase in the number of candidates who qualified for university admission.

Kabarak High School appeared to have topped the list of the best performers in the Kenya Certificate of Secondary Education (KCSE) examinations as compiled from results collected by Nation as of last evening, maintaining a long history of excellent performance. 

The school posted a mean score of 10.43 in the results that were released by Education Cabinet Secretary Ezekiel Machogu on Monday at Moi Girls High School Eldoret in Uasin Gishu County. 

While Kabarak is a private school, most of the top slots are dominated by public national and extra-county schools. 

The school had 62 candidates scoring a mean grade of A plain, 155 with A-, 102 B+, 60 B plain, 18 B- and four with C+, meaning the whole class qualified for university admission. 

It is followed by Mudasa Academy from Vihiga County with a mean score of 10.4 and Kapsabet Boys High School with a mean score of 10.2. 

The Ministry of Education no longer ranks schools and candidates but data provisionally collected by Nation shows some of the top schools in various regions. 

By the time of going to press, Kenya High School had the best mean score by a girls school at 9.948. 

Other top performers include Chemelil Sugar Academy (9.89), Kiage Tumaini Boys’ High School (9.745), Maranda High School (9.578), Maseno School (9.543), Loreto High School Limuru (9.54) and Friends School Kamusinga (9.36501).

We had also not gotten the analysed results for some perennial top performers like Mang’u High School, Alliance High School, Alliance Girls High School, Precious Blood Riruta, Mary Hill Girls High School and Bishop Gatimu Girls High School, Ngandu.

However, the administration of Nyambaria High School, which had the best mean score in the 2022 edition, had not released the analysed results by last evening. 

During the administration of the examinations, the principal of the school was suspended as a centre manager amid allegations of examination irregularities at the school. 

The KCSE results showed an increase in the number of candidates who qualified for university admission

However, a close analysis indicates a decline in performance in the grades that candidates scored. For example, the number of candidates scoring a mean grade of A plain was 1,216, a marginal increase from the 1,146 candidates who scored As in 2022.

The chief executive officer of the Kenya National Examinations Council (Knec), Dr David Njeng’ere, told Nation that the decline in performance could be attributed to the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic, which caused schools to be closed when the candidate class had just reported to Form One in 2020. 

Kenya High School

Kenya High School Principal Virginia Wahome (centre) and other teachers sing and dance in jubilation after posting good results in the 2023 KCSE exams on January 9, 2023.

Photo credit: Billy Ogada | Nation Media Group

“We’ve forgotten very fast that this cohort was the most affected by Covid-19. They had barely reported in Form One and schools were closed. When schools reopened, the schedules prioritised the learners in Form Three and Four and the CBC [competency based curriculum] pioneer class. These students stayed at home for one year and then were subjected to a crash programme and then examinations,” he said.

Dr Njeng’ere said that the bulk of the work tested in paper one for all the subjects mainly covers Form One and Two work which the candidates covered in shortened time to make up for the time lost during the long closure. 

He said that, after schools reopened, all attention was on the candidate class at the expense of the learners in Form One at the time. 

“The increase in candidature is only about 2.05 per cent. Usually, it ranges between four and five per cent. We must have lost many of these learners along the way,” Dr Njeng’ere said. 

The candidates were graded using a new structure that was recommended by the Presidential Working Party on Education Reforms that reduced the number of compulsory subjects from five to two.

Under the system, the overall grade at KCSE examination considers mathematics, the best performed language subject among English, Kiswahili or Kenyan Sign Language and the best performed five subjects.

Previously, the mean score was calculated based on performance in five compulsory subjects (mathematics, English, Kiswahili and two science subjects) and two humanities which disadvantaged some learners whose best whose best performing subjects were not considered if they did not fall within the stated formula. 

“The real effect was felt in the A minus and C plus scored where there were major improvements. Also the C and D minus scores have gone down. It shows the grading system was favourable and wasn’t hard on candidates on the requirement to have two sciences,” Dr Njeng’ere told Nation. 

Mr Machogu noted that the number of candidates who scored an E mean score had increased from 30,822 the previous to 48,174. 

An examiner who was involved in marking the chemistry paper one told Nation that some of the candidates who scored an E barely answered any questions. 

A total of 899,453 candidates sat the KCSE examination compared with 881,416 candidates in 2022, an increase of 18,037 candidates (2.05%).

“However, I should note that the number of candidates that sat the 2023 KCSE Examination was less by 3,685 compared with the number that actually registered to sit the examination. 

“I am concerned with the number that failed to sit the examination as it would point to a situation where some schools could be inflating the figures of registered candidates to meet the minimum threshold of 30 candidates required to be enlisted as an examination centre. 

“Although there could be more reasons for the “missing” candidates, any misrepresentation of figures could imply a wastage of public funds since the Government pays examination fees for candidates based on the data submitted by schools,” the CS said.