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Kaimenyi defends Form One selection criteria

Education Cabinet Secretary Jacob Kaimenyi on Thursday justified the criteria used in the controversial Form One selection.

This followed a public outcry that the process was flawed and that some pupils with high marks missed slots in national and extra county schools.

Addressing a press conference at Jogoo House in Nairobi, Prof Kaimenyi said that in placing candidates in national schools, competition was purely between students in the particular county. This is meant to ensure that learners from all sub-counties have an equal chance for admission to national schools.

“There is, therefore, no competition for places between candidates in different sub-counties, this explains why a candidate with lower marks from a given sub-county can be selected to a national school while another with higher marks may not,” said Prof Kaimenyi.

The ministry picked top three boys and top three girls to automatically join national schools. He added that after picking the six students, the remaining were placed in extra county schools of their choice if there was a vacancy. If they missed a slot, they were placed in county or sub-county schools.

MOST AFFECTED

However, the Cabinet Secretary said Nairobi, Mombasa, Nakuru, Ruiru, Athi River and Kajiado North were the most affected in having high scoring candidates missing the extra county — formerly provincial — schools.

“These areas lack enough county schools, so their candidates were placed in sub-county schools. In the past, they benefited by placing candidates outside their counties,” said Prof Kaimenyi.

The minister said they also encountered challenges in enforcing a set criteria, the 20:40:40 ratio, in which 20 per cent of slots in county schools were reserved for candidates from that county, 40 per cent for candidates from other counties and 40 per cent from the district where the school is found.

Meanwhile, the government has released Sh11 billion as part of capitation funds to about 7,000 public secondary schools.