, NAIROBI, Kenya, Dec 28 – Christine Muthoni of Tender Care Junior Academy School in Komarock Estate and Martin Irungu of Moi Educational Center in Nairobi West are the 2011 Kenya Certificate of Primary Education (KCPE) examination’s top candidates.
Both tied at 442 marks in a year which saw irregularities increase, compared to preceding years.
Speaking while releasing the 26th KCPE results, Education Minister Sam Ongeri pointed out that their score was the best in the past three years, with top candidates in each county scoring over 400 marks.
“Candidates’ performance in 2011 KCPE examinations remained almost at the same level as that of 2010. However, when compared to the quality of scores in 2011, there were 5,806 candidates representing 0.7 percent who scored over 400 marks,” he stated.
Other top national candidates included Herbert Karanja who emerged third with 441 marks, Tito Yak in fourth with 440 and Diana Adhiambo with the fifth highest score of 439 marks.
The 2011 KCPE exams, however, were not exempt from indiscretions which Ongeri said made a noticeable shift to collusion involving students, teachers and other third parties.
He decried an incident that involved a District Education Officer and a headmaster who tried to bribe a supervisor to cover up cheating but when she refused, threatened her with death.
“It is even discouraging that in this past examination, in one region, a District Education Officer and a headmaster tried to bribe a supervisor not to report collusion and when she refused, she was threatened with death and had to leave that region immediately. I do not think such an officer ought to be in the service of this country,” he stated.
Ongeri further disclosed candidates devised new ways to cheat with some even writing answers on sandals and shirts worn to exam rooms.
“We thought that the sandals would be an apparel to prevent them from contracting any infectious diseases while they were walking on contaminated soil but I am afraid to say that this is one of the ingenious ways of colluding where the sandal is riddled with answers,” he said.
Ongeri warned that the ministry would take stern action against such individuals and urged all regions and counties to assist in the effort to eliminate the vice he deemed as ruining children’s futures.
The boys dominated in the top tier of candidates, nationally, with nine of the 14 candidates being male and majority of the counties’ having 50 to 80 percent of their top 10 candidates as male.
The Education Minister did acknowledge that Kenya had achieved near gender parity, with the gender ratio during the 2011 KCPE examination period standing at 51.6 percent in favour of boys and the remaining 48.4 percent comprising girls.
At least 29 of the 47 counties posted near gender parity for this year, while just four that included Nyandarua, Embu, Nairobi and Vihiga had more girls sitting the KCPE examination.
Still, the issue of the imbalanced gender ratio was evident especially when it came to the county level with 14 counties heavily skewed to male candidates such as Garissa registering 71 percent boys closely followed by Mandera at 70 percent.
The best performing counties were led by Kirinyaga, followed by Nandi, Makueni, Uasin Gishu and Busia, while the bottom five included Kilifi, Lamu, Taita-Taveta, Kwale and Tana River as the worst performing counties.
A total of 776,214 students took part in this year’s KCPE exams, with 1,299 South Sudanese candidates participating.
This year’s results also had some firsts with score outcomes being analysed on the county level that came into effect after the promulgation on the new Constitution last year.
Candidates were also able to register online, with 70 percent participating in the pilot project, which Kenya National Examinations Council (KNEC) Chief Executive Paul Wasanga said would be rolled out fully in 2012.
Another change expected in 2012 is the extension of the first and second terms with 16 and 15 weeks respectively and the third term with eight weeks.
“This will make the holidays for the first and second terms shorter and there will be an examination period from 19th October when all schools will be closed. The circular to this effect will be released in January 2012,” Ongeri noted.
Find below the list of top 10 candidates nationally.