, NAIROBI, Kenya, Mar 3 – Following the release of the 2015 Kenya Certificate of Secondary Education exam results on Thursday, Education Cabinet Secretary Fred Matiang’i announced that his Ministry was “re-opening” debate on the ranking of schools and students based on their performance.
The 2015 results were not ranked following the decision taken by his predecessor, Jacob Kaimenyi, to abolish it in November 2014.
But given the persistent insistence of those in support of ranking that it be reinstated, Matiang’i said, the matter is back up for debate.
“Clearly this is a matter that is of great interest in the country. It’s fair that we be responsive to the issues that are being raised. So that we don’t have to answer this question everywhere we go. You know… can you give us 10 schools that have performed best this year or, 10 schools that have improved more,” he mimicked.
Matiang’i said that by the time the next national exam cycle comes, an acceptable merit system would be in place.
Kaimenyi in defending the decision to abolish ranking, said that it encouraged schools to “drill” students for the sole purpose of securing a top spot in the rankings and thereby lowered the quality of education.
“It is unnecessary pressure on the schools and students and defeats what education is all about because people become obsessed with being the best as opposed to doing their best.”
Matiang’i however declined to respond to concerns that it could also encourage school initiated cheating in the effort to come out on top at all costs. “How can I pre-judge a system that’s not even been worked out?”
The Kenya National Union of Teachers (KNUT) was among those who opposed the abolishment of ranking.
KNUT Secretary General Wilson Sossion said it would lead to a decline in performance as it eliminated health competition. “Life is a competition.”