Shock as majority of Form One students fail to turn up in schools

Shock as majority of Form One students fail to turn up in schools

The government’s efforts of achieving a near one million enrollment of Form One students this year are facing a major setback.

Many schools across the country have reported a low Form One admission rate despite the government announcing free day secondary education, extending the period for enrollment and introducing day wings in some top boarding schools.

The 993,718 candidates who sat last year’s KCPE exam were expected to have reported to secondary schools by Wednesday, January 17.

However, the turnout in some regions is raising eyebrows with the government now considering a door-to-door mechanism to ensure students go to school.

At the Coast only 30% of Form One students have reported to secondary schools. In Kwale High, for instance, only 57 students out of over 200 students offered admission at the school have reported.

In Samburu County, the enrollment is presently below 50 percent despite free secondary education, area County Commissioner Alfred Kinyua has revealed.

Speaking to the press on Thursday in his office, Mr. Kinyua blamed the low primary to secondary school transition on lack of information that the government is offering free secondary education in day schools.

Mr. Kinyua added that despite Form One enrollment deadline, only 43 percent of Form One students in Samburu County have reported to school.

“Secondary schools in the county have 4,535 Form One slots, yet only 1,964 have reported,” he said.

The commissioner also noted that Samburu Central has the highest enrollment at 1,148 students out of 2,038 slots, Samburu East was second with 267 students reporting out of 675 slots, while Samburu North recorded the lowest form one enrollment at 235 students out of 879 slots.

To achieve 100 percent transition, Kinyua said he would hold an education stakeholders meeting together with local political and religious leaders to ensure that every child who sat their KCPE last year enrolls in secondary school.

“We want to inform parents that secondary education is free and text books are also free, all they need to buy is school uniform and provide lunch money,” he said.

Shabaa Day Secondary School Principal George Lenyasunya has also confirmed that the government is paying Ksh.22,244 for every student.

Mr. Lenyasunya further noted that lunch money was not catered for by the government.

“Students who live far from school can pay a voluntary Ksh 4,900 for lunch per term or carry packed lunch,” he said.

Speaking at Mama Ngina Girls’ School in Mombasa, Acting Education Cabinet Secretary Fred Matiang’i on Thursday reiterated the Government’s commitment to ensuring that all children go to school and get quality learning.

Additional reporting by Benjamin Muriuki