Beyond KCPE: What Happens to the 250k That Miss High School Placement?

It is reported that 249,856 out of 695,728 pupils that sat for the Kenya Certificate of Primary Education exam in November 2008 won’t find placement in High Schools in the country. At the same time, the World Bank’s Africa Development Indicators 2008/9 noted:

Youth make up 36.9% of the working-age population, but 59.5% of the total unemployed, which is much higher than the world’s average for 2005 (43.7%)

Since the placement shortfall is a trend that has been on for several years, I couldn’t help but notice the correlation between the two events – a lack of higher education greatly impedes ones ability to obtain gainful and progressive employment.

What is curious is that no definitive programs, such as vocational training etc., are provided for by the government to cater for these pupils that are left out. Perhaps they’re not vocal enough about any that may be in existence?

I think if we’re serious about eradicating poverty and mitigating crime, it should begin with providing more educational opportunities for this generation especially, even for those that may not have done as well as they could have in this single exam. My sense is that these statistics will only burgeon in the years to come, with more children taking advantage of free primary education.


Here’s the official breakdown of HS placement:

Public Schools Boys Girls Total %
National 1, 856 1,475 3,331 0.5
Provincial 64, 915 57,450 122,365 17.6
District 139,313 138,380 277,693 40.0
Private Schools 19,002 23,481 42,483 6.1
National Total 225,086 220,786 445,872 64.2

2 Thoughts.

  1. I think the media is just blowing the whole thing out of all proportion. What they should mention is the number of students who wont get places in government schools. Nobody can measure how many students private schools can absorb because the more the students available, the more private schools that come up. As someone who lives in Kenya, I can tell you for a fact that any student whose parents can afford fees will find a place in high school. The same goes for University, that is, if your family can afford the tuition, you can go to university even if you got a C in KCSE.

    This issue of saying, “250k will miss places” takes us back to the pre-liberalization era where the only schools were government schools. Today, there’s so much choice out there. Infact you might be surprised to find that some of the 250k are already in class as we speak!

  2. nairobichronicle: actually, as I’ve shown in the update, the stats reflect private schools as well. Perhaps a number of pupils may be absorbed into these or other high schools later in the term or year, but the matriculation levels do not near the 249,000 shortfall.

    So that was my larger argument, that there’s still a large number of pupils who are left behind with not much to do. Additional educational training opportunities, specifically targeting this demographic, should be provided.

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