Kenya: Form One Admission - Parents Face Arrest as Few Students Turn Up

24 January 2020

As the Form One admission process comes to a close today, many schools have recorded a poor turnout.

In Nairobi County, the enrolment is below 50 per cent, according to the county director of education Jared Obiero.

He said that the major problem in the city was a shortage of secondary school places to accommodate the ever-growing population.

"We lack capacity in Nairobi. We can only accommodate 35,000 students out of the 62,000 who sat the examination. So far, we have enrolled about 22,500 students but 28,000 others have gone to schools outside the county," Mr Obiero told the Nation on the phone.

There are only a few day secondary schools in Nairobi, which compounds the problem. In Narok County, only 57 per cent of the Form Ones had reported by Thursday.

The county director of education, Phillip Wambua, said 18,605 students were expected to report but they were yet to trace the whereabouts of more than 8,000 students.

Speaking in his office on Wednesday, Mr Wambua said Transmara East was leading in the enrolment with 74 per cent.

EARLY MARRIAGE

Schools with the lowest transition rates were in Narok East, Narok West and Narok North.

"Parents in these areas are disadvantaged since there are few day schools. Most of these parents can't afford the boarding facilities, he said. The county also has a number of girls who have dropped out due to pregnancies and early marriages.

At the Coast, most counties have registered a low enrolment. Coast Regional Director of Education Hassan Duale, who was held up in Ganze in meetings to discuss the low transition rates, said he would issue the statistics later.

Of the 88,122 candidates who sat the Kenya Certificate of Primary Education (KCPE) examination, less than 50 per cent have reported to secondary schools.

Kwale County Commissioner Karuku Ngumo said that by Wednesday, the county had registered only 47 per cent admission.

"We have started a rigorous door-to-door campaign as we are below 50 per cent," said Mr Ngumo.

However, the two national schools in the county, Matuga Girls and Kwale Boys, had impressive admission numbers.

PARENTS FACE ARREST

Kwale Boys principal Mike Mutua said they had admitted 380 students against a target of 400. His Matuga counterpart Hellen Machuka said they had registered 210 students out of the expected 250.

In Tana River, schools are yet to achieve the desired numbers. County director of education James Nyagah said only Galole Sub-County had managed to register a good number, with the lowest figures reported in Bura Sub-County. There are fears some girls have been married off.

At Hola Boys, a national school, only 58 per cent have so far reported. At Ngao Girls, another national school, the administration has been forced to lower its cut-off marks to 200 marks in order to accommodate local students.

Mau Mau Memorial, a county school, has lowered the entry marks from 250 to 150 marks after only 50 students turned up against a capacity of 150.

County Commissioner Oning'oi Ole'Sosio said they will arrest and charge parents who fail to take their children to school.

SCHOOL FEES ISSUE

A spot check by the Nation revealed that top schools in Migori County had a good number of students showing up.

"We have received quite a good number of Form Ones and we are still expecting those who haven't reported to do so in the course of this week," Kanga High School principal Michael Gweno said.

Migori County director of education Elizabeth Otieno warned school principals against denying students a chance of joining Form One due to lack of school fees.

Ms Otieno, who met school principals at Migori Teachers College on Wednesday, said education was a right to all Kenyans and keeping students out of school was not in tandem with government policy.

In Bomet and Kericho counties, congestion in secondary schools is at an all-time high. Despite the full classrooms, hundreds of children are yet to report to school due to poverty.

"About 89 per cent of the candidates have reported to various secondary schools," said Mabale Indiatsi, the Bomet County director of education.

He expressed hope that the county would attain a more than 95 per cent transition rate by the end of today.

CONGESTION

At Kapkatet Secondary School in Kericho County, 184 students had reported by Wednesday morning against a capacity of 160.

Mr Mutali Chesebe, Tenwek Boys' High School principal, said that due to the increased numbers, they will now have seven Form One streams, each accommodating 54 students.

A dining hall at the school that was built to accommodate 400 students is now catering for a population of 1,300 with learners forced to eat in shifts.

At Kaplong Boys' Secondary School, 400 students have reported against a capacity of 280. The principal, Mr Richard Sang, said a classroom had been converted into a makeshift dormitory as a result of the high enrolment.

In contrast, Isiolo County secondary schools are grappling with low enrolment. Isiolo Boys' High School, an extra county school, has so far admitted only 50 students out of the expected 139 learners.

County director of education Hussein Koriyow said 1,735 students out of the expected 2,800 had reported to various schools, representing an enrolment of about 60 per cent.

NEEDY STUDENTS

In the North Rift, most schools are yet to receive all the students admitted. Nandi County director of education Willy Machocho said out of the 26,400 students who sat the KCPE examination, 82 per cent have already been admitted.

"Next week we will have a meeting with area chiefs who will help us ensure that we achieve 100 transition," he said.

At Kapsabet Boys' High School, Principal Kipchumba Maiyo said all the 485 students who got admitted to the school have reported, adding that some of those admitted had financial challenges but had been given time to pay.

At St Joseph Chepterit Girls' High School, Principal Priscilla Kamau said all the students had reported.

"We have been forced to create extra classrooms since all the students have already been admitted. Even those from Northern Kenya have arrived at the school," she said.

The situation at St Antony Boys' High School was dire as 502 students had been admitted against a capacity of 288. The principal, Mr Victor Makanda, said the school infrastructure is strained.

"We have received too many needy cases and the with 100 per cent transition policy, it is hard to reject a student," he said.

HIGH ENROLMENT

In Meru County, at least 26,390 students have reported, representing 80 per cent of the total number of students expected to be enrolled. Most schools reported more than 100 per cent absorption.

Miruriri Boys in Imenti South had expected 90 students but the number of learners eager to join the institution surged to 143.

The situation was the same at Burieruri in Igembe Central, where more than 300 students joined Form One, a huge increase from the 160 who were admitted last year.

In the Central region, 33 per cent of the Form One students are yet to report to their schools. Out of the targeted 105,155 students, only 70,415 had done so by Thursday.

"We have joined efforts with the local administration to ensure that we flush out all children who are not in school," Regional director of education Margaret Lesuda said.

Nyeri County was the best with only 22 per cent of the students not showing up. It was followed by Nyandarua at 31 per cent, Murang'a with 32 per cent, Kirinyaga with 34 per cent and Kiambu with 39 per cent.

Reports by David Muchunguh, George Sayagie, Winnie Atieno, Stephen Oduor, Fadhili Fredrick, Lucy Mkanyika, Ian Byron, Vitalis Kimutai, Flora Koech, Tom Matoke, Gerald Bwisa, Regina Kinogu, Gitonga Marete, Alex Njeru, Charles Wanyoro, George Munene and Waweru Wairimu.

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