Appalling Primary-Secondary transition rate

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This year’s KCPE exams ended on Thursday, Nov. 6 without any hitches as reported by the Kenya National Examinations Council (KNEC) CEO Dr. Joseph Kiilu. A total of 889,107 concluded their exams, gladly that they had come to the end of their 8-year-journey in primary school. Since the start of the free primary education the total number of candidates has never been this high and will surely continue to increase. They’re anxious to join high school.

However, there is a worrying trend in the country. There is only a 77% transition rate, meaning that from the 889,107 candidates 204,494 candidates would not be joining high school. This is a very significant and has to be addressed. According to the British Journal of Arts and Sciences report, this problem in highly due to shortage of schools and lack of funds. There are an estimated   7,500 secondary schools against the required 22,785 needed to educate this massive number. This is definitely a governmental issue considering it is supposed to provide educational institutions.

On the other hand, considering the inequality levels in Kenya, it is not shocking to see such a huge number missing an opportunity to attend secondary schools because of poverty. For instance, approximately 150,000 candidates out of the 811,930 who sat for the final exam in 2012 were likely to be cut off from joining high school due to lack of enough funds.

Where do all these locked out students go? The worrying statistic of rising unemployment rate will continue if this problem of low transition rate continues. It is time to come up with sustainable solutions that will ensure the youth of the nation are educated past the primary level. Solutions that go beyond the current problems are needed to ensure that there is a consistent trend in development which provides for the future generation.

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