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Do the KCPE 2023 results reflect kid's or parent's input?

Last week, Kenyans. were treated to a lot of theatrics, drama and video. The reason being, the purportedly last KCPE results under 8-4-4 were released. One of the most nonsensical issue that excited Azimio supporters was the Fake results screenshot of the 31-year-old Okanga Nuru Maloba, alleging he had garnered 401 marks out of possible 500.
A student sits for her KCPE examination.|FILE

The name Nuru Okanga was trending heavily on the X App for the wrong reasons. The candidate earlier said that his target was to get between 250-280 marks which would guarantee him a slot in secondary school before he could vie for MCA position in his village ward come 2027 General Elections. 

Hot Air Hype by Githeri & Social Media

The candidate who had emerged victorious by scooping 428 was nowhere near Nuru Okanga in terms of media hype. A national TV channel went ahead to conduct an interview for the staunch Azimio la Umoja supporter to confirm if it was true he garnered the said marks. Many politicians congratulated him and he at some point claimed that ODM party leader gave him money to celebrate the fake results. Two days after the release of KCPE results by Kenya National Examination Council, Nuru Okanga was among the list of people who were complaining that they had not gotten their official results online and they feared someone was taxing their grades. 

Private Schools' Dominance

What was so conspicuous from the results is how the pupils from private schools performed very well. They dominated top lists in various counties as best pupils and schools. On the other hand, pupils from public primary schools performed very poorly. They only dominated the range of between 0-100 and 100-200 marks. So does this really reflect the true input of pupils being directly proportional to the results they got.

We have this data, it is available for the government and general public to analyze. Does it mean, for a pupil to be bright in Kenyan context they have to come from a certain background? Pupils from groups of schools were shown as the best performing going by the recent results. So was there any effort or visible contribution we could say that the Ministry of Education has done to improve public primary schools? 

What it means to study from a Polling Station

First of all, many parents who take their kids to public primary schools, they do so because they have no better option. Parents have risked to sell their land and property to make sure they send their children to private schools which appear to be well managed and improved in terms of infrastructure. The kids who are likely to school from public primary schools, commonly regarded as polling stations (because they are used as polling stations during General Elections voting days), are those of the parents with low income. These schools are characterized by shortage of teachers, dilapidated infrastructure, sometimes kids from these schools carry their own water and fire woods to school, which is supposed to be used to cook relief food from government, well-wishers and Non-Governmental Organizations. The schools especially in remote areas serve large geographical areas such that a pupil has to walk for an average of 10 kilometres every day to get to school and back.

Why Your Parent’s Pocket Depth Matters

So what is the Ministry of Education telling Kenyan parents by these results?  Does it mean it is only wealthy parents who produce bright kids? If Mama Mboga and Bodaboda parents cannot afford to send their kids to private schools, does it mean they will never be categorized as bright pupils? Are we measuring the input of the parent to judge who is bright and who is not?

Then if the trend has always been this predictable, what is the point of wasting time sending kids to schools, we can as well grade them using their parents’ levels of income and save government monies that is wasted going into those public primary schools in the name of teaching our kids.

Scramble for Slots in the Most Prestigious Secondary Schools

Another battle which is likely to emerge is between competition for slots available in good public secondary school. Parents who feel they have put so much to get their kids to good private schools will claim their kids have all the rights to join the best national schools in the country. The same will apply for their kids. Additionally, a parent who did not have capacity to send their kid to a very good private school, is likely for feel disadvantaged because of their incapability to get their kid to good private schools. Their children are likely to blame their fate on not being born into wealthy families.

CBC System Preparedness

Having been done with 8-4-4 syllabus system, there comes another headache from Competence Based Curriculum [CBC] system lot. Initially, it was intended to have the junior secondary school pupils learn at secondary schools. That was later reversed due to unavailability of classrooms to house them. There is yet another classroom that is supposed to join junior secondary schools early next year. Has the government built enough classrooms to accommodate the new pupils and do we have new teachers to take them through the curriculum? Or are we likely to see emergence of private secondary schools to beat the incapacity in the public schools? 

Scandals Within the Ministry

There are some news doing rounds that capitation money neither comes in time nor is it adequate to facilitate curricular and co-curricular affairs. Primary School Heads have been required to send back some percentage of the inadequate capitation they receive back to the Ministry to facilitate for preparation of co-curricular activities. Allegations of blackmail to primary school heads have been made. Some Public Primary Schools were so underfunded, that they could not afford to request results for their schools online.

While many private primary schools’ candidates got their results few minutes after the results were released, majority of the primary school KCPE candidate had to wait for the results to be brought physically to their school. 

How Many More Year of Incompetence?

When will the government streamline the public schools to match the standards we are witnessing from private schools?  So what next after releasing the results? What is the plan for kids who performed very poorly? Majority come from the public primary schools and their parents are the boda boda drivers and mama mbogas. What does the Bottom Up government have for them? Will the school fees keep increasing and what does that mean to a parent who could not afford their kid to a private primary school in the first place? 

Light at the End of Tunnel

Fortunately, low income earner’s parents compose a good percentage of voters’ base today. Good enough to put a chicken seller on the top most office in Kenya. If they wanted to elect a person who will change things, they still have the powers to do so. The only thing standing between them and doing so is time and amount of information they need for the to understand access to free and compulsory education, access to highest attainable standards of healthcare, access to clean drinking water and sanitation are rights provided for their kids in the Kenyan Constitution 2010.

OPINION By CEPHAS MUTAI
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  1. Mtoto wa Ruto hangeweza kunishinda. Mimi ni mjiniasi. But replacing 8-4-4 na Corruption Based Combitensi CBC is not good.

    ReplyDelete

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