Kenya: New School Calendar to Delay Form One Selection This Year

The 2020 Kenya Certificate of Primary Education (KCPE) candidates will have wait longer than in previous years to know the secondary schools they will join, according to sources at the Education ministry.

Results of the exams they wrote are expected to be announced this week, but Nation understands Form One selection will not start immediately as has been the tradition.

The delay this year will be occasioned by the fact that the learners will not join secondary schools immediately.

The more than 1.1 million learners will have to wait until July to avoid an overlap since the 2020 Form One class still has one term to complete their academic year. In the revised school calendar, Term One of 2021 is scheduled to begin on July 26, 2021.

It is likely that the Form Ones will report with the rest of the learners on the date to avoid losing more time. The term will take only 10 weeks, with schools closing on October 1.

Placement system

The results are expected after completion of marking of English composition and Kiswahili insha at the weekend.

Last week, Education Cabinet Secretary George Magoha said marking of the multiple-choice questions had already been finalised and the results would be made public once compilation and harmonisation was done.

According to the sources, the release of the results will also depend on President Uhuru Kenyatta's diary since they will first be presented to him.

The government insists that all candidates who sat the KCPE exams will transition to secondary school, in line with its 100 per cent transition policy. Previously, parents and learners have been left disappointed after failing to get admission into their schools of choice.

The computerised placement system relies on merit, choice of schools and the capacity at the selected school.

Most preferred school

During the 2019 placement, KCPE candidates had selected top-performing national schools but many of them missed out.

Data released by the ministry showed that Pangani Girls' High School in Nairobi was the most preferred school, having been chosen by 111,817 candidates even though it had a capacity of only 336 students.

It was followed by Alliance High School, which was chosen by 83,489, but its capacity was 384.

The third most preferred school was Kenya High School (49,727) but with a capacity of 336.

Some national schools like Starehe Boys' Centre, Starehe Girls' Centre, Moi Forces Academy, Nairobi, Moi Forces, Lanet, Utumishi Academy, Nakuru, Utumishi Girls' Nakuru and Moi Tea Girls' usually pre-select their students before the national exercise.

Opening of schools

Meanwhile, uncertainty surrounds the opening of schools next month following the introduction of strict Covid-19 control measures.

The positivity rate has remained well over the World Health Organisation recommendation of five percent and below for the last 14 days. On Saturday, it was 12.4 per cent, down from Friday's 14.9 per cent.

Early Learning and Basic Education principal secretary Julius Jwan two weeks ago told Nation that a meeting will be held towards the end of the month to deliberate on the opening.

In secondary schools, the Kenya Certificate of Secondary Education (KCSE) exam is drawing to a close with candidates sitting their elective papers this week. The last group will complete their exams on Wednesday next week.

The exams have been marred with cases of cheating with some candidates, teachers and other officials arrested and charged.

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