New KCSE champions emerge as academic giants floored

Ummu Kulthum Ahmed

Parents teachers and students of Sheikh Khalifa Bin Zayed Secondary School in Mombasa celebrate their top girl Ummu Kulthum Ahmed who scored an A (83 points) in the 2022 KCSE on January 20, 2023. 

Photo credit: Wachira Mwangi | Nation Media Group

The 2022 Kenya Certificate of Secondary Education (KCSE) examination dethroned traditional top schools as new kings and queens either emerged or made unexpected comebacks to the top in various regions across the country.

An analysis of mean scores posted by various schools reveals new names that rightfully claimed their place at the national exam high table in results released on Friday.

In Nyanza, the Gusii region stole the limelight after a number of its schools featured in the top 100 positions nationally, catching the attention of many Kenyans.

Schools from Kisii and Nyamira counties that have been in the doldrums for years posted improved performance to stake their claim as the new academic giants.

Nyambaria High School from Nyamira, based on Sunday Nation’s aggregation, posted the best mean grade in the country.

It had a mean score of 10.89 and outshone the traditional bigwigs in Nairobi and Kiambu counties.

Mobamba High School in Nyaribari Masaba Constituency, Kisii County, shocked many after it recorded a whopping 4.13 points increment in its mean score.

The school’s principal, Dr George Ogochi, was all smiles upon receiving the results, terming the 2022 cohort extraordinary.

“We had a dedicated class that was disciplined. Everyone was saying that this group was destined for greatness. We changed everything from the start and here are the results for all to see,” Mr Ogochi said.

In the same region, Cardinal Otunga High School Mosocho that had been branded a sleeping giant in recent years shot to the limelight by posting an impressive mean of 10.76.

The chief principal Chrispinus Owino said that the sleeping giant was slowly making its way back to the limelight.

“The boys were wonderful and we could read it. We had a wonderful cohort. My teachers and non-teaching staff stood up to the occasion. We are destined for great times,” said Mr Owino.

Other schools that did well in the Gusii region include St Paul’s Gekano Boys’ High School (9.951), Nyansiongo Boys’ High School (9.0), St Mary’s Nyamagwa Girls’ High School (8.823), Nyabururu Girls’ High School (8.631), St Edward Nyabioto Secondary School (8.110), Rigena High School (8.266), Nyabisase Mixed Secondary School (8.025), and Riokindo Boys’ High School (7.830).

Elsewhere in Nyanza, one of the little-known schools that sent more than half of its candidates to university included Kwoyo Oyugis Secondary, which got a mean of 6.476 points.

In Siaya, Bar Kowino Secondary School in Bondo bounced back to the limelight by attaining a mean score of 7.69 in the 2022 test compared to 6.8 in the previous year.

It beat St Mary’s School Yala, which is also in Siaya. Yala had a mean of 7.68.

Bar Kowino Principal Charles Ober said the school was initially a private institution before it was made public to enable local community access to education.

Major surprises

In parts of the Rift Valley, new secondary schools pulled major surprises to beat academic titans like Kapsabet Boys, Moi High School Kabarak and Moi Girls Eldoret.

Little-known Ossen Girls High School in Baringo posted a mean score of 9.2 to have all the 167 students score a C+ and above. Ruth Kiptui Girls High School Kasok, also in Baringo, recorded excellent results that secured a mean score of 8.87 to emerge among the top schools in the county. Of the 280 candidates, only two failed to attain a C+ and above.

In Nandi County, Meteitei Boys High School posted an improved mean score of 8.77 with 18 students attaining A-. Of the 336 candidates, only seven failed to score above C+.

Memon High School twins, Hussein Bilal Mohamed (left) and Hussein Abdulnaim Mohamed

Memon High School twins, Hussein Bilal Mohamed (left) and Hussein Abdulnaim Mohamed celebrate with their mother after scoring A (82 points) and A- (80 points) respectively in the 2022 KCSE exams.

Photo credit: Wachira Mwangi | Nation Media Group

“Teamwork from all stakeholders, students, parents and Ministry of Education officials contributed to the outstanding results,” said Mr Barnabas Too, the school’s senior principal.

Another emerging school that posted exceptional results is Samoei Boys High School which had a mean score of 9.89. All its 280 candidates qualified to join the university. Isaac Mugambi was the toast of the school whose catchment comprises mainly pupils from the slums of Nakuru City and its environs. This was the highest-ever grade in KCSE since the inception of the school in 1984.

In Kericho, Korongoi Girls posted an impressive mean of 9.36, defeating the gigantic Kabianga High School in the same Kericho County that posted a mean of 9.22.

The school in Bureti constituency registered 2 A-, 94 B+, 104 B, 17 B-, 2 C+ in the surprise performance according to the performance analysis shared by the institution.

Ms Jane Tialal, the school principal, said the good results were a result of discipline and hard work by the candidates.

“We are all overjoyed by the results, but while at it, this will give us a lot of pressure to maintain and raise the bar in the next and subsequent examination cycles,” she said.

Other schools that shot to prominence in the region include St Brigid Girls (9.92), Samoei Boys (9.98) and Chebwagan High School (9.74).

The trend was repeated in the Coast where renowned schools were toppled by upstarts.

Light Academy shone in the Coast region with a 9.9 mean score followed by Sheikh Khalifa with 9.0.

In Taita-Taveta, Dr Aggrey High School floored two national schools and other giant schools to emerge top with an 8.6 mean score. National schools Kenyatta High School, Murray, and Bura Girls struggled to come second, third and fourth respectively with 8.1, 7.4 and 7.3 mean grades while St Mary’s came fifth with a 6.7 mean score.

In Kwale, sleeping giants Kwale High School re-emerged, becoming the best-performing school in the county. 

Last year, the school scored a mean of 7.2 with only five students scoring grade A-. In the 2022 KCSE, its score shot up as the school got a mean score of 8.4, an increment of 1.1 points.

“We are very excited and we thank God. We set a target earlier last year and we worked really hard to meet it. It took discipline, pedigree and motivation,” said Kwale High School Principal Michael Mutua.

Upsets were also the order of the day in the Western region. For instance, in Vihiga County, Mudasa Academy – a private school – posted an impressive mean of 10.3 to beat top academic giants in the region.

Highest candidature

The school’s principal, Mrs Velma Mudanyi, said the school posted the highest candidature in 2022 —seventy-five candidates.

“We have done well and we have good results with the lowest being a B-minus. Good grades have come through for us. This is a great academic achievement for us,” she said.

In Busia County, Busiada Girls High emerged as one of the surprise packages. The school had an impressive mean score of 8.2 compared to 5.2 in 2021.

Butula Boys High in Busia County, a yesteryear academic giant, made a strong comeback as one of the top schools after posting an impressive mean of 9.287 from its 303 candidates.

Another school from the Western region that recorded an improvement was Teremi High from Bungoma County which posted a mean of 7.09 from its 341 candidates.

In Trans Nzoia County, St Anthony’s Boys High School, Kitale, posted impressive results to emerge among top national performers. The school had a mean score of 10.33, up from 8.3, with all its 437 candidates scoring a C+ and above.

In the Mountain region, 2022 was the year of comebacks for some schools. 

For example in Kirinyaga, Kabare Girls High School outstaged Baricho Boys to clinch the county’s top position with a mean score of 8.7 points.

The best candidate from Kabare, Kamau Mary Mukami, got a grade A of 83 points. Kabare Principal Lilian Muhuni attributed the sterling performance to hard work.

“We worked as a team and that is why we have excelled,” said Ms Muhuni, adding that more than 100 students attained a C+.

In the Eastern region, Matinyani Secondary School is still on everyone’s lips. The little-known school in Kitui County stunned academic giants like Kitui School, Machakos School and Makueni Boys High School.

Reporting by Ruth Mbula, Wycliffe Nyaberi, Francis Mureithi, Macharia Mwangi, Vitalis Kimutai, Waikwa Maina, John Njoroge, Pius Maundu, Siago Cece, Barnabas Bii, Tom Matoke, Oscar Kakai, Sammy Lutta, Fred Kibor, Benson Amadala, Okong’o Oduya, Derick Luvega, David Muchui, Alex Njeru, Edwin Kipsang, George Munene, James Murimi, George Odiwuor, Kassim Adinasi and Angeline Ochieng