Private school’s appeal for fairness in form one selection

Written By: Tom Kimani/ KNA

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Private school owners are appealing to the government to ensure fairness in the forthcoming Form One selections. 

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Members of the Private School Owners Association from Thika, Kiambu County said merit should prevail in the admissions because of the “standardization and moderation” applied in the recent KCPE exam in which candidates from private schools performed dismally compared to those in public institutions.

Terming the grading of marks as unfair and skewed to favor learners in public schools, the members expressed fear that this may affect the Form One selection exercise.

Led by the association’s Thika branch chairperson Mary Kirika, they said all candidates should get equal chances and that there should be no discrimination.

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Calling for a probe into the 2020 KCPE results, they said there was a lot of contradiction in the grading of marks.

“Those in the private sector should not be seen as competitors but as equal players in education, complementing the government in realizing its goals,” Kirika said.

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A member of the association Francis Kago said all candidates should be tested fairly when it comes to the form admissions.

The association is at the same time demanding clarification from the Ministry of Education on the criteria used during the marking of this year’s examination.

Noting that the selection process should be based on merit as well as give equal chances to all candidates.

Elsewhere, the Kenya Private School Association (KEPSA) wants the Ministry of Education to include them in the entire examination process.

They said the learners in private schools constitute 25% in candidature and should be proportionately represented in the process.

The association expressed concerns about the standardization process and moderation tools applied for KCPE 2020 which they say greatly disadvantaged candidates who sat for the exams at private schools.

Led by KEPSA central region chairperson David Karithi they said having compared the results and expected pupils’ performance there are some very fundamental issues to be addressed.

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“Based on KCPE results released by Education Cabinet Secretary Prof. George Magoha on 15th April where he said public schools did better than private schools there are some issues that concern us,” Karithi said.

Addressing the media at Bekam Hotel in Kerugoya, proprietors of private schools in Kirinyaga said that the KNEC Assessment Test done in October 2020 and whose main objective was to gauge the candidates’ preparedness for KCPE exams revealed that candidates from private schools registered impressive results despite the prolonged closure of schools.

The outcome of the KCPE results suddenly tilted against the candidates who sat for the exams in private schools.

Solomon Munene who is director of Kerugoya Municipality blamed the moderation process. “The standardization and moderation are causing a sudden rise in marks for some students and disadvantaging some,” Munene said.

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“The procedure that is practiced and accepted should be fair, transparent, and applied equally to all learners,” he added.

They demanded the Ministry of Education and Kenya National Examination Council to consider including KEPSA members in setting, administration, marking, and standardisation of national exams.

Former national chair of KEPSA John Kabue further requested KNEC to furnish all schools in Kenya with the raw marks for KCPE 2020 candidates before standardization was applied.

“We need raw results to be available to schools because the standardization process seems to tilt against private schools,” Kabue said.

They said candidates who sit for their exams in private schools are also Kenyan children and asked for fair application of the standardization process as well as moderation tools and parameters to be discussed and agreed on.

“Exams should be an equalizer and the government should find better ways to standardize the exams,” Kabue added.

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