KCSE 2008: 40% Drop in Males with A Grade

A curious observation from performance data released yesterday by the Kenya National Examination Council (KNEC) of the 2008 edition of the Kenya Certificate of Secondary Education (KCSE):

kcseadrop

Notice the massive drop in males obtaining the grade A in the exam – a drop from 806 in 2007 to 489 in 2008. For kicks you could throw in the 770 from 2006 to establish a plummeting trend. Well, this offset is balanced out by a stacking of the C- to E brackets.

What caused the drop?

There’s no empirical data to support this yet, but I suspect there were two contributory factors: the post-election violence and incidences of school’s unrest over the last year.

Unfortunately the statistical data provided does not detail the performance breakdown by province as well, which would have provided more insight on the probable effect of Post-Election Violence (PEV), which seemed to have affected some provinces (read: Central, Rift Valley, Nyanza) more than others.

What else could have caused such a drop anyway?

Why Skilled Immigrants Are Leaving The U.S.

Vivek Wadhwa of Businessweek notes a fact that many have already suspected Рmany highly skilled immigrants are leaving the US in large numbers to return to their home countries  for a better life and be close to family.

Why should Americans care?

Because immigrants are critical to the country’s long-term economic health. Despite the fact that they constitute only 12% of the U.S. population, immigrants have started 52% of Silicon Valley’s technology companies and contributed to more than 25% of our global patents. They make up 24% of the U.S. science and engineering workforce holding bachelor’s degrees and 47% of science and engineering workers who have PhDs. Immigrants have co-founded firms such as Google (GOOG), Intel (INTC), eBay (EBAY), and Yahoo! (YHOO).

I think this is one of those issues that’s always going to have an argument on both sides of the same coin – protectionism versus comprehensive immigration reform. Continue reading