My statement to the country today is perhaps the most solemn and significant since I joined this Ministry more than three years ago. I stand here today to release the Kenya Certificate of Primary Education (KCPE) Examination, which is important in two ways. One, it is the last KCPE examination, which is being released under the Jubilee Administration of His Excellency President Uhuru Kenyatta, a regime that has seen a six-year run of the most clean and flawless national examination campaigns, that have restored the integrity and credibility of our national certification system.
Two, the KCPE Examination results that we are releasing today will be the second last before we fully transition into the Competency Based Assessments under the Competency Based Curriculum.
I am therefore proud and thankful to the Lord, and His Excellency President Uhuru Kenyatta to have allowed me to serve the country for the last six years, three of which as Cabinet Secretary for Education and the other three as Chairman of the Kenya National Examinations Council. I cannot take for granted this opportunity to serve and I look forward to putting icing on the cake over the next few months.
As I prepare to handover the basic education mantle to my successor, whom only God knows, I am proud of my record and I remain confident that the lady or gentleman who will come after me will find a comfortable place to continue from. Let me outline a few of these milestones:
Competency Based Curriculum
As a Government, we have done everything possible to midwife the transition from the 8-4-4 to the CBC. So far, the CBC has successfully been implemented up to Grade Five. Next month, the pioneers will join Grade Six and sit their first national assessment later this year. I wish to assure the country that all curriculum materials for Grade Six have been prepared and distributed to Schools.
As you have heard from the TSC CEO Dr. Nancy Macharia, all relevant teachers have been trained and are prepared for the Grade Six rollout, and many more will be trained next month for the Junior Secondary school that starts in 2023.
Ahead of the start of the Junior Secondary School next year, the Ministry has already constructed 6,497 new classrooms to accommodate the CBC pioneer class under the first phase that has cost the Government Ksh5.123 Billion. We also intend to start phase two of constructing 3,503 classrooms as soon as we complete the marking of the KCSE Examination. We hope to complete the construction of all the 10,000 classrooms, as directed by H.E. the President, by the time I leave office. All these preparations make me extremely comfortable that my successor will find a good script to follow in the CBC implementation.
Competency Based Assessment
As I already said before, the first Grade Six national assessment is set to be administered in December 2022. It is expected that this national assessment will account for 40 per cent of the candidate’s final mark while the remaining 60 per cent will come from the classroom teacher scores drawn from the school-based assessments in Grade Four, Five and Six. This new testing is expected to emphasize on both formative and summative assessments, which we hope will heavily reduce the cut-throat competition that we have witnessed under the 8-4-4 and heavily reduce the incentives for examinations cheating. I also wish to assure my successor that I have ensured that the Grade Six national assessment is ready and all that he or she will need is simply to oversee its administration. I wish the next Government to ensure the security of the examinations process is sustained.
The 2022 KCPE and KCSE Examinations
The Ministry expects to administer the last KCPE, and KCSE for the 2022 academic calendar in December. I wish to inform the country that these examinations have already been set and are in safe custody for the incoming Government to administer.
The administration of the December 2022 examinations will effectively mark the end of the re-arranged academic calendar that was forced upon us by the disruptions of the COVID-19, occasioning the prolonged closure in 2020. Beginning January 2023, our country will go back to its traditional academic calendar that starts in January and ends in November of each year. I thank all stakeholders who have given us all the support in negotiating this difficult period, especially teachers who have had to work extra hard to ensure learners covered the syllabus within the short timelines.
Most importantly, I thank President Uhuru Kenyatta for offering the Ministry all the support in carrying out the broad reforms that have led to stability and progress in the education sector. No one can gainsay the fact that when history of this country is written, President Kenyatta’s contribution to the education sector will comprise a myriad of chapters.
Multi-Agency Examination Administration Team
The successful administration of the 2021 KCPE and indeed for the last six years would not have been possible without the effective coordination of a number of government ministries and departments. The Ministries of Interior and National Coordination of Government, ICT, TSC have tirelessly worked with the Ministry of Education to run the national examinations with utmost professionalism and competency. I thank my Cabinet Colleagues Dr Fred Matiangi (Interior and National Coordination of Government), Joe Mucheru (ICT) and Dr Nancy Macharia, CEO TSC for leading their teams to support the examinations management exercises each year.
We must not forget our departed brother and former Interior and Coordination of National Government CS Joseph Ole Nkaissery under whose tenure the examinations reforms started.
The 100 Per Cent Transition to Form One
In line with the Government’s 100 per cent transition policy, all the 1,214,031 candidates whose results we are releasing will be admitted to secondary schools. Already, the Ministry has put in place measures to ensure the selection exercise is conducted the soonest possible to ensure the candidates join Form One soon given that the next academic calendar is heavily shortened.
The Elimu Scholarship
We wish to thank His Excellency the President for providing scholarships under the Elimu Scholarship Programme for the last two years to the less fortunate children in the slums and semi-arid areas. So far, two cohorts of 9,000 beneficiaries each, have been identified from the vulnerable and needy children who sat for their KCPE in the years 2020 and 2021. The Elimu programme offers its beneficiaries fully paid scholarship for four years.
The beneficiaries of the scholarships could not have gone to the best national schools without the support of the Elimu Scholarships. I wish to appeal to the H.E. the President to provide money this year to cover the 9,000 scholarships under the Elimu Scholarship Programme to support our needy children.
Our security arrangements through the Multi-Sectoral Examinations Monitoring Team have always helped to curb cheating in national examinations. In the 2021 KCPE, these measures ensured that cases of irregularities were prevented. During the marking, however, KNEC established that 320 candidates in seven (7) examination centres colluded during the administration of the 2021 KCPE examination. These candidates will be awarded a mark of zero (0) in the affected subjects.
CANDIDATURE DETAILS FOR THE 2021 KCPE
A total of 1,214,031 candidates who sat the examination in 28,313 centres across the country will receive their results today and will thus be legible for admission to secondary schools.
Of these candidates, 610,384 (50.28%) were boys and 603,647 (49.72%) girls. In the 2020 KCPE, 1,179,192 candidates sat the examination. The candidature increased by 34,839 (2.95%) in 2021 when compared to 2020. Male and female candidates increased by 19,934 (3.27%) and 14,905 (2.47%) respectively.
During the year 2021 KCPE examination, 12 counties registered more female than male candidates: Mombasa, Meru, Isiolo, Tharaka Nithi, Nairobi, Uasin Gishu, Busia, Bungoma, Kakamega, Vihiga, Kisumu and Siaya. In 2020, twenty (20) counties, including the 12 counties mentioned above, registered more female than male candidates.
The number of candidates who were absent decreased from 12,424 (1.04%) in 2020 to 11,523 (0.94%) in 2021 KCPE examination.
CANDIDATES’ AGE PROFILES
The number of registered candidates who were 12 years and below increased from 26,378 (2.21%) in 2020 to 33,627 (2.74%) in 2021.
The counties which had the highest entry for candidates who were 12 years and below in the 2021 KCPE examination were: Baringo (1,302: 7.09%), Bomet (1,932; 6.51%), Kericho (1,846: 6.24%), West Pokot (947; 5.98%) and Nyamira (1,111; 5.90%). These counties, except Nyamira, recorded a similar trend in the 2020 KCPE examination.
The highest number of candidates 551,920; (45.03%) were in the appropriate age bracket of 13-14 years, a trend which has been replicated in the last five years. The counties which had the highest entry of candidates who were 19 years and above were Turkana (2,755; 16.76%), Garissa (1,484; 14.44%), Kilifi (3,304; 8.41%), Kwale (1,940;8.35%) and Mandera (386: 6.05%). These counties, except Mandera, recorded a similar trend in the 2020 KCPE examination.
PERFORMANCE PER SUBJECT
I am happy to announce that six papers recorded an improvement in performance in the year 2021 when compared to the year 2020. These are English Composition, Kiswahili Lugha, Kiswahili Insha, Kenyan Sign Language Composition, Science and Social Studies.
Three other papers, Mathematics, English Language and Religious Education, recorded a drop in performance in 2021 when compared to 2020, while Kenyan Sign Language recorded a comparable performance in 2021 and 2020.
In terms of gender, the performance of male and female candidates was comparable. However, female candidates performed slightly better than their male counterparts in English and Kiswahili.
Male candidates performed slightly better than their female counterparts in Kenyan Sign Language, Mathematics, Science and Social Studies & Religious Education.
OVERALL PERFORMANCE OF CANDIDATES
In the 2021 KCPE examination, overall performance improved compared to 2020. Although the highest mark dropped from 433 in 2020 to 428 in 2021, the mean average performance and quality of grades for all candidates is higher. For example, whereas 8,091 (0.68%) candidates scored between 400 and 500 marks in the 2020 KCPE, the number increased to 11,857 (0.97%) in the 2021 KCPE. This is an indicator that most candidates scored better scores than the previous year.
I wish to commend all the teachers, parents and candidates for this good performance, during challenging period.