Nairobi — Up to 16,165 Kenya Certificate of Primary Education (KCPE) examination candidates will join national schools up from last year's 4,517.
Education Permanent Secretary George Godia said on Monday that a strict selection criteria based on statistical and human-based approach will be used to select the best students.
He explained that those joining national schools include 600 students who will go to 20 special schools across the country.
"The number of national schools has therefore grown from 18 to 78 and they have now also given them the requisite financial resources. We did grant the former 18 schools Sh48 million and we have given the ones we have brought on board an initial sum of Sh25 million for a start," he pointed out.
Speaking during the launch of the selection process at the Kenya Institute of Education (KIE), the PS announced that those who qualify will be required to report between February 18 and 25.
Education Minister Mutula Kilonzo stated that candidates who do not qualify for slots in the national schools will join extra-county and county secondary schools.
"Extra county schools are 195. They will be selecting 36,115 students representing 5.6 percent. The category in county schools has 1,090 schools, candidates selected are 126,168 representing 20 percent," he said.
Up to 150,000 candidates are likely to miss out on Form 1 slots out of the 800,000 who sat the KCPE examinations last year.
Kilonzo said this is a major reduction from last year when more than 300,000 candidates missed out on secondary school spaces.
The minister announced that last year's transition rate also improved to 77 percent with 16,165 candidates securing positions in national schools.
During the launch, the education minister said that the selection of county schools will be done on Thursday and Friday while the one for district schools will be done from Monday next week.
"The district quota will equal the number of candidates per gender, multiplied by vacancies in the school divided by national candidature for that particular gender. For the public candidates' quota in a district, public candidates equals the number of candidates in public schools by gender multiplied by district quota divided by the district candidature by gender," he said.
He further observed that the ministry is close to achieving gender parity with the overall KCPE candidature.
"The Education Ministry boasts of a fair selection process where every student is assured of a place in a post primary institution based on clearly defined parameters subject to merit, candidate choice and quota computed on the basis of the district's candidature strength in relation to the national candidature," he stated.
He said the selection of candidates to join public secondary schools had been reviewed.
He explained that this year, the process would be done strictly on merit and not choice of schools by candidates.
He also indicated that it will be based on the proportionate sharing of available places between public and private candidates in a district and on the basis of a district's candidature.
In addition, he said that affirmative action will be exercised where need be to ensure all Kenyans get equal chances in the national schools.
Last year, about 5,396 boys and 4,886 girls were selected to join national schools that were only 48 then.