Nairobi — Nearly 200,000 pupils who sat the Kenya Certificate of Primary Education (KCPE) last year will miss a place in secondary schools once the Form One selection process is completed.
Education Cabinet Secretary Jacob Kaimenyi said on Tuesday that only 77 percent of all KCPE candidates in 2013 secured a place in Form One out of a total of 844,475 candidates.
He argued that the huge deficit could not be covered through the national, county, sub-county, special and private secondary schools adding that affected parents should consider enrolling their children into youth polytechnics.
Kaimenyi, who spoke during the launch of the secondary school selection process, further observed that there were only 647,602 available Form One positions this year, providing a transition rate of about 76.6 percent.
"And just to remind you, the national schools have a capacity of about 17,175. As you move up to the counties the number increases to 53,625 so that at sub-county level we are talking about a capacity of 392,742," he explained.
Higher Education Science and Technology Principal Secretary Collete Suda reiterated Kaimenyi's remarks saying that this year's candidates would not only pick the secondary schools that they would like to attend but also make a selection of different technical institutions.
This, she said, would ensure that those who do not make the high school cut got a chance to develop technical skills necessary for their future survival.
"We need these people and I would like to be able to pick a technician, plumber or electrician from my rural home rather than have to travel with one from Nairobi every time I need some technical work done," she said.
Suda also argued that this would ensure that such students do not despair because technical skills were required to drive Kenya's Vision 2030.
According to Kaimenyi, there are 700 youth polytechnics scattered across the country and there are only nine counties which do not have these learning institutions.
The existing technical institutions have a capacity of 100,000 and the government is working towards establishing more in the remaining nine counties.
"And indeed we are almost there and money has already been provided. We can tell you that as a ministry we will endeavour to put up more technical institutions," he said.
Parliament's Education, Research and Technology Committee Chairperson Sabina Chege applauded the proposal adding that the polytechnics should be referred to as youth polytechnics rather than village polytechnics to remove any negative stereotypes associated with them.
The government officials also gave an assurance that this year's Form One selection process was done on the principles of merit, equity and the students' personal selections.
Some national schools have already picked the students they would like to work with while the remaining national schools are expected to have completed this process by Wednesday.
This will pave the way for the other categories of secondary schools to pick their students.
Kaimenyi also reminded parents that all candidates were expected to report to their schools between February 3 and 10 this year.
All primary and high school officials were also reminded to register their students for the national exams by March 31, this year.