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Poor planning linked to dismal exam results

Nairobi’s dismal performance in national exams stems from poor planning, a forum was told.

The county has over a 1,000 public primary schools compared to its 60 secondary schools.

This means that even before its 45,646 candidates who sat last year’s Kenya Certificate of Primary Education, only a few stood a chance of proceeding to secondary schools.

The sorry state was captured by Governor Evans Kidero and Roysambu MP Waihenya Ndirangu during a forum to discuss education standards.

Huge disparity

“In my constituency, there are 13  public primary schools and only two public secondary schools. We had around 1,000 pupils who sat the KCPE exams last year and the secondary schools can only accommodate 100. Where will the remaining go?” asked Mr Ndirangu.

According to Dr Kidero, the huge disparity had impacted negatively on the transition rates from primary to secondary schools.

Currently only 52 per cent of Nairobi’s 2013 candidates will be admitted into high schools compared to the national rate of 78 per cent.

“This is unfortunate and calls for  deliberate planning that must be executed urgently,” Dr Kidero said.

He pointed out that no new secondary schools were being built. Classrooms that used to accommodate 35 learners today sit more than 90 making it hard for any meaningful learning to take place, he added.

Mr Ndirangu agreed with Dr Kidero and cited Githurai, which has over 2,000 acres as one of the places that have not prioritised  the establishment of new secondary schools.

He went a step further and said that the root cause of the stagnation was land grabbing.

The governor acknowledged that he had received similar complaints  and promised to crack down on the culprits. “I have reports of schools whose land was hived off and turned into other uses.Be assured that even if one built a Tower of Babel on the grabbed land, that building will be brought down and the land restored to the school.Those who cheated their way into getting title deeds for such property will have them revoked,” he said.

Besides the poor transition rates, It was also emphasised that the shortage of teachers was a major challenge.

“We currently have 4,299 teachers in the public primary schools and they are not enough to attend to the large number of pupils,” said Teacher Service Commission county director Geoffrey Cherongis.

He said the problems facing public primary schools were compelling city parents to enrol their children in private schools which are more costly. Others, he added, were taking their children to what her termed as informal schools.