18 February 2013 by website

By Kennedy Buhere

 On 4th February 2013, the Ministry of Education released results of the placement of candidates who sat Kenya Certificate of Primary Education (KCPE) in 2012 into Form One.


Following the release, there has been concern and misconception amongst members the public, that learners transiting from Primary to Secondary education cycle are few and that those unable to secure form one placement are disturbingly many.


Last year’s KCPE candidates were the third cohort of beneficiaries of the complete cycle of Free Primary Education since its inception in 2003. A total of 628,051(76.76%) of the 818,298 KCPE candidates are expected to transit to secondary education this year.


As stated by the media, it is true that 190,247 of the primary school leavers will not able to find placement in secondary education.  The impression given by the media, however, is that the Government has not catered for the needs of this group of learners. On the contrary, there are opportunities available for the primary school leavers to proceed further with their education, through skills based education institutions. The target of the Government is to increase secondary level education opportunities to near 100%.



Indeed, the Ministry has progressively improved transition rates from primary to secondary education from 46.4% in 2003 to 59.9% in 2008 and now at 76.76% in 2013. This increase should be noted at the background of increased KCPE candidature from 695,777 in 2008 reaching 818,348 in 2012, an increase of 18%. During this period the transition rate from primary to secondary increased by 17 percentage points.


It is anticipated that most of the learners that cannot transit to secondary education obtained 200 marks and below. The table below shows the overall performance of the KCPE candidates in 2012. These are learners who have varied potentialities who can access technical and vocational institutions are it public or private. These institutions are mandated to nurture and develop the abilities of all these learners variously have for their own good and the good of the country.



2012 KCPE Performance

KCPE Marks

 Number of Candidates


150 and below



200 and below



250 and below



Above 250



Total Candidature



Source: KNEC


Over the last five years, the Government policy is to increase the number of streams in existing schools and construction of new schools in order to increase the Form 1 places. In order to realize the 100% transition, it is projected to cost not less than KSh 6.3 billion for construction of additional 4,222 classrooms through targeting of existing schools every year for four years to cater for the projected shortage.


However, the most important development is expanding multi-track approach in secondary education, with a significant proportion of the primary school leavers being admitted into Technical Vocational Education and Training (TVET) institutions. The Government has in the recent past embarked on revamping TVET institutions throughout the country to accommodate some of the KCPE graduates. At the same time, TIVET institutions including Youth polytechnics receive a capitation grant of KSh 15,000 per student enrolled.

There are a total of 700 public Youth polytechnics with a total enrolment of 35,000 as at 2011. The capacities of the institution can be increased to admit not less than 50,000 on annual basis in public institution and many more in the private sector. A flexible curriculum has been put in place that ensure the primary school graduates are taken  through a rigorous training programmes to equip them with crucial skills for the labour market. The curriculum is tiered in such a manner that an ambitious and well-motivated student can upgrade his/her training to Diploma and Degree levels. Examinations are offered by several highly reputable examining bodies which include the Kenya National Examinations Council, City and Guild among others.

The training programmes offered in Youth polytechnics include Motor vehicle technology, Electrical technology, building technology among others. The students also learn subjects such as: English, Mathematics and Physical sciences to provide relevant foundation skills.

In conclusion, the Ministry reiterates that it is as much concerned with the gaps in the transition rates from Primary to Secondary Education. It is doing all it can, in collaboration with  Development Partners , communities and private education providers by way of increasing the number of schools, expanding existing ones in addition to other initiatives like Free Day Secondary Education and Bursary approve to needy secondary school students and the mainstreaming of SNE in secondary schools.

The Government has also, through the Ministry of Youth and Sports developed a Subsidized Youth Polytechnics Tuition (SYPT) to partially finance the training of young people who opt for TVET programme. It is committed to continuously provide modern equipment, employ highly qualified instructors, expanding workshops and hostels to support TVET.

The development of both general secondary education and TVET institutions with flexible training programmes is geared towards absorbing all KCPE candidates. The Government places high value on the development of the human capital necessary manage Kenya’s aspirations and in particular, the realization of Vision 2030. It has not in any way neglected to provide opportunities to youth willing and motivated enough to pursue either an academic or vocational tracks so as to realise their dreams.

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