The KCSE list of ‘E’ scores rose 64.5 per cent, the first increase in five years

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The KCSE list of ‘E’ scores rose 64.5 per cent, the first increase in five years


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Education CS Prof. George Magoha during the release of KCSE 2021 results at KNEC Headquarters on 23 April 2022. PHOTO | JEFF ANGOTE | NMG

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Summary

  • The increase in the number of low-achievers is a blemish at the state level for a 100 percent transition from primary school to high school, which was introduced in 2018.
  • The graduates who scored below D + increased by nearly 90,000, accounting for 60 percent of the 826,807 students who participated in the 2021 KCSE exam.
  • The government has increased its focus on technical colleges in the pursuit of feeding the labor market with technicians and craftsmen as plumbers and masons.

The number of graduates who obtained the grade E in the 2021 Kenya Certificate of Secondary Education (KCSE) exam almost doubled, defying a five-year trend that had seen the number of best results fall.

Data from the Ministry of Education show that 46,151 graduates received the grade E in the exam against 28,046 the year before and 35,536 in 2017.

The increase in the number of low-achievers is a blemish at the state level for a 100 percent transition from primary school to high school, which was introduced in 2018.

The graduates who scored below D + increased by nearly 90,000, accounting for 60 percent of the 826,807 students who participated in the 2021 KCSE exam.

“I am proud to have led the campaigns that have achieved 100 percent transition of two Kenya Certificate of Primary Education (KCPE) cohorts – 2019 and 2020,” Education Minister George Magoha said as he announced the 2021 KCSE results on Saturday.

The results show that 26,578 boys fell in class E against 19,573 girls.

This is a repeat of last year’s pattern where 15,225 boys were on the Class E list against 12,821 girls.

About 49,903 more candidates scored D- to 187,264 compared to the 137,361 who were in that category in 2020.

Those who obtained the minimum qualification – the grade C-minus – for diploma programs in technical and vocational training institutions (TVET) fell by 10,048 to 99,406 from 109,454 the year before.

“We therefore need to invest more in TVE institutions where the majority of our KCSE exams will study,” said Prof Magoha.

The government has increased its focus on technical colleges in the pursuit of feeding the labor market with technicians and craftsmen as plumbers and masons.

The revival of the technical colleges under the administration of President Uhuru Kenyatta was a departure from the tendency set by former President Mwai Kibaki to transform middle schools into universities.

Focus on university education during the Kibaki era led to an increase in the number of graduates with liberal arts degrees in a labor market that was already saturated.

Last year, about 15,547 graduates who scored C + and above in the 2020 KCSE exam rejected universities, while some opted for diploma and certificate courses such as plumbing in technical institutions.

Official data show that 10,707 graduates did not apply for education despite meeting the minimum qualifications, and a further 4,840 preferred TVET colleges.

This year, graduates who met the minimum requirement for university entrance at C + and above increased by 2,005 to 145,145 from 143,140 in 2020.

Over the past five years, almost all students who scored C + and above were admitted to the regular university programs, reducing the number of students available for private universities as well as for self-sponsored programs at public universities.

The decline in the number of students pursuing the parallel programs, whose fees are based on market prices, has damaged the university’s economy, which has led institutions to freeze employment and slow down expansion while struggling with debt.

The Higher Education Loans Board (Helb) has not been able to match the borrowing needs of the growing population of students at public universities, which set them up for a hard life at the beginning of their studies.

Helb pays for their teaching and maintenance. Most universities require full payment of one semester’s fees to admit students and delay payment, and therefore risk forcing some first-year students to postpone their studies.

Helb executives say inadequate allocation and delayed payments from the Treasury had caused the money crisis amid rising defaults by former college students in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic, which triggered layoffs, company closures and a freeze on employment.

The number of candidates who received the grade A- and above decreased by 202 to 7,111 from 7,313 the year before.

The exams, which started on February 28, were the second KCSE test administered outside of November-December after the interruptions of the calendar when schools closed in 2020 to slow down Covid-19.

Out of the 441 reported cases of exam malpractice involved eight personal imitation, six were for coordination, 203 were for unauthorized material in the exam room and 223 were related to mobile phones.

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