Candidates defy Covid-19 to post impressive results

Tuesday, May 11th, 2021 00:00 |
Kenya High School principal Flora Mulatya (centre) together with other teachers celebrate Esther Wachuchu Mbugua who scored 87.17 points, yesterday. Photo/PD/John Ochieng

 Simiyu Robin Wanjala of Murang’a High School is the best student in the 2020 Kenya Certificate of Secondary Education (KCSE) examination.

Wanjala scored a mean grade of A (plain) of 87.3 marks to beat 747,160 candidates who sat the exam last month.

At his home in Nairobi, it was song and dance when he received the good news, as he could hardly believe when his name was read out as the best candidate countrywide.

“I would like to pursue Medicine… I want to become an oncologist. Much as I used to perform well all my years in school, there were times I could flip-flop but when I got to Form Four, I worked hard and tried to be consistent,” said Wanjala.

He had scored 409 marks in his Kenya Certificate of Primary Education examination at Gachie Primary School.

Wasonga Udoma from Agoro Sare High in Homa Bay County came second after scoring a mean grade of 87.173 and third best was Sharon Terer from Kenya High School.

Other top performers were Bob Ong’are (Alliance High School, 87.139), Mbugua Esther (Kenya High School, 87.133), Kipkoech Kogo (Alliance High School, 87.106), Kenneth Oranga (Kapsabet High School, 87.049), Henry Madaga (Maranda High School, 87.049), Patience Chepkorir (Kenya High School, 87.046) and Edith Musomba (Machakos Girls High School, 87.013).

Education Cabinet Secretary Prof George Magoha praised the students for the impressive results, given the circumstances in which they prepared for the exams.

Releasing the results about three weeks after completion of the exam, Magoha said the candidates navigated one challenge after the other in a manner that has now “left all of us with mirthful faces”.

“After looking at the impressive results posted by our KCSE 2020 candidates and taking into account the most trying environment in which they prepared for this examination, I am compelled to describe their show in one apt sentence: They fought their battle with resilience and ended it with grace,” said Magoha when he released the results at Mitihani House, Nairobi, yesterday.

Dedicated teachers

“We have our God to thank for all these blessings of success and wonderful children who have defied the Covid-19 pandemic to shine in their examinations,” he added. There was a remarkable performance at the Kenya High School, which produced six of the 15 best candidates countrywide.

Principal Flora Mulatia said all parents were cooperative during the pandemic and immediately students reported back to school in October last year, teachers encouraged them to work hard for the sake of their future. “I want to commend the dedicated teachers – the teamwork – because they held the hands of the girls and kept on walking with them and helped them believe in themselves,” said a jovial Mulatia, who was present when the exams were released. Magoha said 893 candidates had scored an overall Grade A in the exam compared to 627 in 2019. “This is one of the clearest indicators that candidates have performed better in 2020 compared to 2019, the negative effects of Covid-19 notwithstanding,” the CS said.

The number of candidates with minimum university entry qualification of Grade C+ and above rose to 143,140 (19.03 per cent) in the 2020 exam compared to 125,746 (18.02 per cent) in 2019.

Magoha said the government had created opportunities for academic progress and even the remaining 604,020 candidates are eligible to join TVET institutions, Teacher Training Colleges, Medical Training Colleges and other tertiary institutions to pursue various courses.

To make up for the time lost during the prolonged closure last year, the ministry deliberately created a tighter academic calendar that enables it to accelerate completion of school terms.

The upshot of the accelerated calendar will be the conduct of five examinations next year. These include 2021 KCPE and KCSE in March 2022, 2022 KCPE and KCSE in December, and also the Grade Six Summative exam for the pioneer Competence Based Curriculum cohort.

“We are about to come face-to-face with a historic examinations season next year, which means that we must start preparing for the five examinations immediately,” said Magoha.

In terms of the 2020 KCSE candidature, 380,327 were male while 366,834 were female, representing 50.9 per cent and 49.1 per cent respectively. 

Fifteen counties had more female than male candidates compared to 17 counties in 2019. The 15 counties are Taita Taveta, Kwale, Nyandarua, Nyeri, Kirinyaga, Murang’a, Kiambu, Machakos, Kitui, Meru, Nandi, Elgeyo Marakwet, Kakamega, Vihiga and Kisumu.

Counties with high gender disparity in favour of male candidates included Mandera, Wajir, Garissa, Turkana and Homa Bay. “I have asked the Directorate for Quality Assurance and Standards to investigate the cause of low female candidates representation in these counties,” Magoha said.

Turkana had the highest percentage of overage candidates at 1,603 while Bungoma had the highest percentage of under-age candidates at 1,344. At least 19 subjects recorded a significant improvement in performance, compared to 16 in 2019.

Special needs

There were 223 special needs candidates who obtained an overall grade of C+ and above compared to 127 in 2019.

Magoha named the most improved candidates with KCPE scores as the baseline.

“I am even more emboldened this year to name a few candidates who have turned out from what many label KCPE “flops” to KCSE stars. We must celebrate them and remind all Kenyans that no child is a failure,” he said.

They included Hassan Abdullahi who scored 168 marks in KCPE and now has a B- (minus), Cheruiyot Dennis who had 190 marks and also has a B minus and Maluti Tom who had 199 marks and also scored B minus.

The most improved schools based on mean KCPE overall candidates’ scores were Kaaga Girls, St Joseph’s Kitale, Kisasi Secondary, Oriwo Boys, Riakindo Boys and St Joseph’s Rapogi.

On irregularities, Magoha said there were isolated cases where some people entrusted to safeguard examination papers opened them before the actual time. “Thanks to our strong security system, most of these cases, some of which resulted in some suspect social media posts, were pre-empted and culprits arrested,” said the CS.

He said the ministry had cancelled individual results of 287 candidates who were involved in various forms of cheating, including use of unauthorised materials, mobile phones, impersonation, collusion and double script.

A total of 652 female candidates sat the exam in hospitals after delivery.

Counties that had the highest number of candidates who sat their examination in hospital included Bungoma (43), Meru (38), Nakuru (36), Kisii (36) and Nandi (31).

“We will work with relevant State departments to ensure we focus on the worst hit counties to address the root cause of this perennial problem of teenage pregnancies,” the CS said.

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