Stem the performance decline in KCPE exams

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Stem the performance decline in KCPE exams


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Education CS George Magoha. FILE PHOTO | NMG

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Summary

  • The stakeholders in the education sector deserve credit for pulling it off under extremely difficult circumstances.
  • It was noteworthy, however, that the performance in the top bracket of marks went down for the third straight year, and the absentee levels doubled compared to the pre-Covid exam of 2019.
  • The number of candidates scoring above 400 marks fell to 8,091 from 9,673 in 2019 and 11,599 in 2018.

The KCPE exam results released Thursday should serve as a reminder of the great amount of effort that has gone into recovering what was at some point declared a lost year for education.

The stakeholders in the education sector deserve credit for pulling it off under extremely difficult circumstances.

It was noteworthy, however, that the performance in the top bracket of marks went down for the third straight year, and the absentee levels doubled compared to the pre-Covid exam of 2019.

The number of candidates scoring above 400 marks fell to 8,091 from 9,673 in 2019 and 11,599 in 2018.

There was also a drop in performance in half of 10 papers sat by the candidates.

The papers that recorded a drop include English Language, Kiswahili Insha, Kenyan Sign Language Composition, Science and Social Studies.

But it was encouraging to see that the number of candidates scoring between one and 99 marks fell substantially from 1,393 in 2019 to 307 in this exam.

It is wholly understandable, and perhaps was expected, that due to the lengthy period that candidates spent at home following the Covid-19-enforced school shutdown last year, performance would likely suffer.

The uncertainty over the reopening of schools would have weighed heavily on the candidates, who looked forward to this single exam that has so much bearing on their future.

These mitigating circumstances notwithstanding, the Ministry of Education and schools in general need to keep a keener eye on the standards of education at primary school level going forward.

We cannot afford to let the decline in the number of top performers take root and become the norm and must therefore aspire to reverse the drop in the next examination.

This is especially so for the performance in core subjects such as mathematics, languages and sciences, which are key to skills development needed for the growth of the economy.

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