, NAIROBI, Kenya, Dec 28 – Trade Unionists have expressed concern over the decline in performance in this year’s Kenya Certificate of Primary Education (KCPE) examinations.
Kenya National Association of Parents Secretary General Musau Ndunda said the four-point drop by top candidates should be an issue of concern that needed to be addressed.
The top candidate in this year’s KCPE examinations result scored 434 marks out of a possible 500 compared to last year’s 438 marks.
“We are wondering why the performance went down. We are talking about the success but nobody is looking at the failure and there must be a reason for the decline,” Mr Ndunda said.
Kenya Union of Post Primary Education Teachers (KUPPET) Secretary General Njeru Kanyamba attributed the decline to the higher number of candidates.
“We realise that the results are going down in terms of the top students but that does not mean that the overall mean score is poor,” he said.
A total of 746,080 pupils sat the examination this year compared to 720,054 pupils who sat the examination last year.
In 2003 when the government introduced the Free Primary Education 587,961 pupils took the exams.
At the same time the Kenya National Association of Parents called for an overhaul of the examination system in the country to be replaced with a continuous assessment.
Secretary General Musau Ndunda however said they were opposed to a proposal by Ndaragua MP Jeremiah Kioni to scrap the Kenya Certificate of Primary Education examinations.
“The government should come up with a continuous assessment such that we can also be able to measure the children over the years,” Mr Ndunda said.
“Overhauling means that we have to look again because for the last 25 years things have changed and we cannot just continue using one system of examining,” he explained.
He opined that continuous assessments should constitute 60 percent of the final results while KCPE should comprise 40 percent.
KUPPET on the other hand termed the proposal to scrap KCPE as misplaced and one that would lower the quality of education in the country.
“We are totally opposed to the scrapping of KCPE because there is no better alternative to KCPE and most of us have passed through that examination and we have nothing to complain about,” Mr Kanyamba said.
“They (government) only need to improve on what is taking place right now so that the examination remains but the standards must be improved,” he added.
The Motion by Mr Kioni is to compel the government to abolish KCPE and instead provide a continuous, uninterrupted education system from level one to form four in order to accord all Kenyan students universal basic education.
The legislator argues that the class eight exams lock out hundreds of thousands of pupils from joining secondary school.
The Motion has been supported by primary school head teachers through their association.
Meanwhile, the government has expressed concern over the declining enrolment of boys in primary schools in some regions as the focus remained on the girl child.
While releasing this years KCPE results, Education Minister Professor Sam Ongeri said in Central, Eastern and Nairobi Provinces, the number of girls who sat for this year’s KCPE was higher than that of boys.
“In these provinces, we may need to start worrying about the boy child. While my Ministry puts measures in place, I also wish to call on the leaders, parents and other education stakeholders to assist my Ministry in changing the attitude of society towards the boy child education before this becomes a major challenge,” the Minister said.
He however noted that gender disparity had been reduced even though by a small margin of close to one percent in all the eight provinces.
“Although the gap between boys and girls in ASAL (Arid and Semi arid Lands) like North Eastern and Coast provinces continues to be a challenge, there has been marked improvement in gender parity and it is the primary responsibility of each parent and guardian to ensure their children attend and remain in school,” Professor Ongeri stated.
He said this year 71.61 percent boys and 28.39 percent girls sat the exams in the two regions as opposed to 74 percent boys and 26 percent girls last year.