NAIROBI, Kenya, Feb 3 – Education Minister Sam Ongeri has assured all students who scored at least 250 marks in the Kenya Certificate of Primary Education exams that they will secure a secondary school slot.
Ongeri said that each person who achieved the pass mark will be placed in a secondary school.
His sentiments follow concerns of even students who scored over 400 marks but had not been admitted to a secondary school.
“Not a single child who scored 250 marks and above is missing any place in school. If they wanted to go to Alliance and the place is not there and they have been sent to Machakos, that is not missing a form one place,” he stated.
Ongeri said that the form one selection process used the quota system to place students across the country in schools.
“It is possible that within a given district, there are many private academies. For instance in Nairobi and Kajiado, everyone who has passed has to go to a school. You cannot expect to grade someone in Kajiado that same way as you do one in Nairobi,” he explained.
The Education Minister was speaking during the launch of a report on the education system that would cost Sh340 billion should it be implemented.
The study done by a 35-member taskforce also suggested that the age at which children should begin basic education should be four years and that it should be made mandatory for them to attend school until they reach 18 years.
In a departure from the current 8-4-4 system, chairman of the taskforce Douglas Odhiambo said that the 2-6-3-3-3 system should be adopted.
“We are recommending that there should be a well coordinated response to demand for access by facilitating children aged between four and 18 years to be in school and this is in line with the Constitution. Up to now ages four and five were not in the education sector,” he said.
He stated that pupils will sit national exams at the end of two years in pre-primary, at primary three, primary six, three years in junior secondary and three years in senior secondary.
According to the report, implementation of the new system should commence this year with a thorough review of the education curriculum proposed to end in December.
He stated that the structure would ensure students get the required skills to earn a living once they finish school.
Speaking during the launch of the report, Education Permanent Secretary James ole Kiyiapi emphasised that the proposal will form the basis of a proposed bill to Parliament.
“Once they do the proposal, that Sessional Paper will go to Cabinet and it will be discussed there and after that it is discussed in Parliament. It is only after it has gone through the parliamentary process that it becomes an official Sessional Paper of government,” he said.
The team to review the 8-4-4 education system was launched last year and was expected to help stem some of the recurrent problems facing the education sector.
They include poor quality, where institutions have been accused of teaching what is not needed, lack of access to education by the poor, cultural barriers to equal education opportunities and conflicts between the public and the private sector.
Under the proposed system, students who miss national examinations for whatever reasons will sit special tests three months after the normal exams.
Selection for Form One places will also be done at county level, while ranking of schools as national, provincial and district level will be abolished such that all schools will be either public or private.