KCSE Producing More Failures Than Just Students

By Juma Fred / December 26, 2017

Kenya Certificate of Secondary Education (KCSE) is producing hundreds of thousands of failures than just students and it is time we started mourning for the monster in the making.

Some people have been heaping praises on the CS for Education, Dr. Fred Matiang’i for his “toughness” and for instilling back “discipline” in Kenya’s national examinations.

Dr. Fred Matiang’is “toughness”, the no-nonsense ” business unusual” together with  his ambitious plans to to bring back sanity at Kenya National Examinations Council (KNEC) appears to be manufacturing failures in thousands and the general public appears to be oblivious of the fact.

If bringing back sanity at national examinations means producing 70,000 “successful students” and more than 400,000 “failures” then there is a problem.

Time to view Dr. Matiang’i as the “black Messiah” who came from the clouds to bring back the “lost glory” in the education sector, and, therefore, not prone to human error, should come to an end.

Kenyans should now focus on the reality on the ground. What is the reality? Do Kenyans know the real outcomes of the good doctor’s “toughness”?

Well, for those who are not aware of the reality on the ground, let me break it down for you and you will realize that we are sitting on a time bomb.

A total of 611,952 students sat and did the Kenya Certificate of Secondary Education (KCSE).

Of all the students who sat the examination, less than one percent managed to score grade A (plain). Only 142 managed to score the prestigious grade or the ” Matiang’i grade” as it is now known. This was an “improvement” from 141 in 2016.

A total of 70,073 students scored grade C+ (plus) and above. These are the lucky few given a lifeline by our able, experienced and tough examiners to see the doors of a university.

135,550 students scored D (plain). This is a disaster. Imagine, an examination that manufactures more than 130 thousands D (plains).

179,381 students managed to score D- (minus). This is even worse. It is like death. More than 170 thousand D- ( minuses) and we are happy that the “Man” is working?

35,586 students were awarded grade E. Can you imagine what it feels like to have an E? In this case, more than 30 thousand. Getting an E in Kenya is like you don’t exist. It is like you are extinct and the society views you as an outcast.

The chairman of KNEC, Professor Magokha proudly says that exams should not be a matter of life and death. That the results are as they are and that students should think beyond them. That the students can still be successful even after “failing”! That students should know that failure is not the end of life.

Does the good Professor know what it means to get a D+, D, D- and an E in Kenya? Does he know that exams in Kenya mean everything to both the students and parents and that those who fail are condemned for life?

If exams meant nothing, then we would not be having students committing suicide after results are released. If they were of no value, then we would not have Goldalyn Kakuya all over giving advice to everyone including university graduates.

Something is not right at the KNEC and Dr. Matiang’i should be told this and should stop lying to himself. We can’t have a system that produces 11.5 percent ” successful individuals” and 88.5 percent failures then we stand and say the system is working.

Where are we going to take the more than 300,000 who scored D and below? Make them join police? How many will even make it with corruption all over and majority of them come from poor families?

Time to play the ostrich when a calamity is in the vicinity should come to an end. There is a problem and something should be done.

About Juma Fred

Juma Fredrick is an enthusiastic journalist who believes that journalism has power to change the world either negatively or positively depending on how one uses it. You can reach him on: (020) 528 0222 or Email: [email protected]

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