State funding pressure as over 200,000 score varsity grades


Education Cabinet Secretary Ezekiel Machogu (second left), Kenya National Examinations Council Chairman Julius Nyabundi (left), Education Principal Secretary Dr Belio Kipsang (third right), Teachers Service Commission CEO Nancy Macharia and Uasin Gishu County Governor Jonathan Bii (right) during the release of the 2023 Kenya Certificate of Secondary Education examination results at Moi Girls’ High School in Eldoret town, Uasin Gishu County on January 8, 2024. PHOTO  | JARED NYATAYA | NMG

The number of candidates who met the minimum university entry qualification in the 2023 Kenya Certificate of Secondary Education (KCSE) examination crossed the 200,000 mark for the first time, signalling more pressure for higher education funding.

According to the results released by Education Cabinet Secretary Ezekiel Machogu Monday, the number of qualifying candidates rose 16 percent to hit 201,133, adding 27,788 candidates to the 173,345 who scored C+ — the minimum entry grade—and above last year.

“The number of candidates who attained the minimum university qualification this year was 201,133, which was 22.27 percent (of the entire candidate population) compared to 173,345 which was 19.62 percent in the year 2022,” said Mr Machogu.

“This is as a result of the application of the new grading system that reduced the number of compulsory subjects required to compute the mean grade.”

The jump comes at a time the State has announced the introduction of a new funding model for universities and Technical and Vocational Education and Training (Tvet) institutions that will be need-based, meaning that financing will be apportioned to individuals depending on their level of vulnerability.

While announcing the shift in May last year, President William Ruto said funding will comprise a raft of scientifically determined combinations of scholarships, loans and household contributions on a graduated scale where the categorisation of learners will be in four levels of need— the vulnerable, extremely needy, needy, and less needy.

In the just-released results, the number of candidates who scored the premium grade A rose to 1,216 up from 1,146 last year, which was an addition of 70 learners.

National schools contributed the largest chunk of the best scorers, producing 889 students with grade A, distantly followed by extra-county schools at 172, private schools (143), sub-county schools (7) and county schools (7).

A total of 899,453 learners sat for the test last year, marking a 2.1 percent rise from the 881,416 in the 2022 test.

An analysis shows that the number of girls who scored A, A- and B+ increased 30.5 percent to hit 10,881 up from 8,337 in 2022, while the growth in the number of male candidates in the same category was at a sluggish 5.2 percent to 15,667 up from 14,898.

Mr Machogu said that out of the 30 subjects offered in the test, only 12 recorded an improvement, among them Mathematics, Kiswahili Language, Biology, Business Studies, German Language, Music and Chemistry.

Others were Christian Religious Education (CRE), Building and Construction, French Language and Electricity.

“Female candidates recorded better mean score performance than male candidates in five subjects that include the English Language, Kiswahili, CRE, Home Science and Art & Design,” said the CS.

“Male candidates recorded better mean score performance than female candidates in 10 subjects, this being Mathematics, Biology, Chemistry, General Science, History & Government, Geography, Agriculture, Computer Studies and Business Studies.”

The number of candidates who attained D+ and above was 526,222, representing 58.27 percent of the entire candidate population, compared to 522,588 which was 59.14 percent in 2022.

The number of candidates who scored Grade E hit a record high of 48,174 which was 5.3 percent of all learners who undertook the test, a development that the CS said was painful, especially with the revised grading system.

Only four candidates had their test results cancelled out of 4,113 exam irregularities recorded, as the CS indicated the rest of the cases were still under probe and that a determination would be issued in 20 days.

In a dramatic twist and a shift from the norm, the CS announced that the candidates who missed out on the final edition of the Kenya Certificate of Primary Education (KCPE) exam last year would be allowed to join Form One before sitting a qualifying test as was earlier planned.

“When I released the KCPE exam results in November last year, I promised that the Kenya National Examinations Council (Knec) would administer a supplementary exam for 9,000 candidates who failed to sit the examination,” he said.

However, upon further audit, the council has only traced 2,000 eligible learners. “Since this number does not warrant a national examination, it has been decided that the 2,000 candidates be allowed to join Form One starting January 15 and be allowed to sit qualifying examinations later.”

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Note: The results are not exact but very close to the actual.