Kenya: Public Schools Lead Pack as Murang'a High Stands Out

Public schools dominated the list of top KCSE performers in Mt Kenya region as Murang'a High School basked in the glory of having produced the best candidate nationally.

Robinson Simuyu Wanjala was named the top overall student in KCSE exams having scored 87.334 points, putting Murang'a High School on the national map with a mean score of 9.8657 (B+).

Kagumo High emerged top in Nyeri with a mean score of 9.4, earning a mention among the most improved schools nationally. Sixteen of its students scored plain As, 65 had A-, B+ (65) and B (67).

Murang'a's Edinburgh Boys, a private school, posted a mean score of 8.38 while Edinburgh Girls School had a mean of 7.43.

In Meru, Kaaga Girls, which was named the most improved school in the 2020 KCSE exams, recorded two Plain As, 18 A- (Minus) and 48 B+ (Plus).

Deputy Principal, Rose Kimathi, said 190 out of 283 students scored C+ (Plus) and above.

Embu's Moi High School Mbiruri had a mean score of 8.58, with 10 straight As and 29 A- in KCSE.

There was jubilation at Baricho Boys High in Kirinyaga County after 10 candidates scored straight As and 89 A-. Ikuu Boys High in Tharaka Nithi got a mean score of 8.2 in 2020 exams compared to 8.1 in 2019. The school's principal Joseph Mbae said the best student, Robert Nduati Gitau, scored an A plain of 82 points followed by 13 others with A- (minus) and 39 with B + (plus).

Chuka Boys High in Tharaka Nithi County also emerged in the top 10 most-improved schools nationally. Deputy Principal incharge of academics, Peter Nguru, said 275 candidates sat the examination in 2020 and 170 managed to score university admission grades.

Kenya High School

Kenya High School topped the 2020 KCSE examination with a dominant presence on the list of the top 15 candidates nationally, maintaining a legacy of stellar performance even as some traditional giants missed from the list.

The school had six candidates on the list, and also produced the top girl nationally.

The best overall candidate, however, was Simiyu Robin Wanjala from Murang'a High School, who scored straight As with a tally of 87.334 points. He was followed by Wasonga Allan Udoma of Agoro Sare, who scored 87.173 points.

Sharon Chepng'eno of Kenya High School emerged the top girl in the country with 87.173 points.

"I thank God for this. We always put God first but also work hard. We received a lot of support from our teachers, who are very committed to duty, non-teaching staff and parents. We also have a chaplain to guide the students," Kenya High School principal, Flora Mulatya, told the Nation. Tears of joy freely rolled down her cheeks as Education CS George Magoha read the list of top performers. The school had 294 candidates.

The examinations, which were rescheduled from last year, were the first high school final tests to be administered under the Covid-19 pandemic. The pandemic notwithstanding, more candidates qualified for university admission than in 2019.

There was also an increase in the number of the top grade achievers. The results, which were released by Prof Magoha at the Kenya National Examinations Council (Knec) headquarters in Nairobi, showed that 893 (0.12 per cent) of the candidates scored a mean grade of A compared to the 627 (0.09 per cent) candidates in the 2019 examinations. "Their battle was fought with resilience and won with grace," Prof Magoha said.

In a marked improvement from 2019, more candidates made the cut for university admission after 143,140 (19.03 per cent) scored the minimum C+ (plus) and above. Among the qualifiers for university are 223 candidates with special needs. The top candidate with special needs is Kipkemoi Miriam Chepleting, who scored an A plain of 84.8 points. She was a student at Moi Girls High School Eldoret and was followed by Getugi Edgar Omoke (83.566) from Kisii High and Nebet Nyariki Ongubo (81.414) from Nyambaria High School.

KCSE giants

The other top 15 candidates are: Moriasi Bob B. Ongare ( 87.139) Alliance High, Mbugua Esther Wachuchu (87.113) Kenya High, Mark Kogo (87.106) Alliance High, Kenneth Oranga (87.049) Kapsabet Boys, Henry Madaga (87.046) Maranda High, Chepkorir Patience (87.046) Kenya High, Musomba Edith Kithei ( 87.013) Machakos Girls, Lesley Loise Wanjiku (86.999) Kenya High, Pile Ron George (86.970) Kapsabet Boys, Kiprono Howard (86.949) Maranda High, Njelimo Debrah (86.947) Kenya High, Buluma Daizy Nerima (86.939) Kenya High.

The list of top performers, however, missed some of the KCSE giants of yesteryears and some much sought-after national schools. There was no place in the list for schools like Starehe Boys' Centre, Precious Blood Riruta, Pangani Girls' High School, Moi High Kabarak and Sunshine School, which have in the past topped the national charts.

The Education CS observed that the Form Four leavers will join universities and other tertiary level institutions as earlier anticipated before Covid-19 disrupted the school calendar.

Dropouts

Universities will admit the students in September. He instructed the Kenya Universities and Colleges Central Placement Service to start placement of the students immediately, while promising that the Higher Education Loans Board will be ready to advance loans to the students.

A total of 747,161 candidates sat the 2020 KCSE examination against a registration of 752,602, meaning that 5,441 did not sit the test. The high number of dropouts was anticipated as many candidates fell off the way after staying for seven months out of school due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Thousands of girls got pregnant while others got married.Prof Magoha revealed that 652 candidates sat their examinations from maternity wards after delivering. In the 2019 examinations, a total of 282 female candidates sat their KCSE examination in hospitals.

"The number of candidates sitting exams (while pregnant) was the highest in history. We must get to the root cause of the problem," said Prof Magoha, while blaming parents for neglecting their responsibilities when the students were at home.

Counties with the highest cases of pregnant candidates included Bungoma (43), Meru (38), Nakuru (36), Kisii (36) and Nandi (31).

Boys were reported to have engaged in drug and substance abuse, with others reported to have opted for informal businesses like boda bodas. Some 380,327 of the candidates were male, representing 50.90 per cent while 366,834 were female, representing 49.10 per cent of the total. In the 2019 examination, 697,222 candidates sat the exams.

Female candidates

Prof Magoha said 15 counties had more female candidates than male examinees. They include Taita Taveta, Kwale, Nyandarua, Nyeri, Kirinyaga, Murang'a, Kiambu, Machakos, Kitui, Meru, Nandi, Elgeyo Marakwet, Kakamega, Vihiga and Kisumu.

"The counties with high gender disparity in favour of male candidates during the 2020 KCSE examination included Mandera, Wajir, Garissa, Turkana and Homa Bay," said Prof Magoha.

The CS also noted that Turkana County had the highest percentage of over-age candidates (1,603) or 0.213 per cent while Bungoma County had the highest percentage of under-age candidates (1,344; 0.179 per cent).

Significant improvement

Significant improvement in performance was recorded in 19 subjects compared to 16 subjects in 2019.

Knec acting CEO Mercy Karogo said the candidates sat the examinations in 10,565 examination centres while 25,135 examiners were involved in the marking, which was concluded last week. Knec staff worked round-the-clock over the weekend analysing and processing the results.

Whereas Prof Magoha said that no results for schools were cancelled, 287 candidates will not receive their results after having been adjudged to have been involved in examination irregularities.

The CS, however, fired a warning that more results might be recalled after conclusion of ongoing forensic investigations.

The Teachers Service Commission CEO Nancy Macharia said tutors involved in examination cheating will be removed from the teachers' register if found guilty. "We will act decisively and conclusively on errant teachers while upholding the rules of natural justice and the principle of due process as stipulated in the Code of Regulations for Teachers," said Ms Macharia.

She announced that the commission will launch a biometric system to collect data of teachers in all schools to ensure that teachers involved in malpractices are punished.

Reported by Mwangi Muiruri, Alex Njeru, Irene Mugo, Regina Kinogu, David Muchui, George Munene, David Muchunguh and Faith Nyamai

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