Skip to main content

Can we solve the KCPE problem by abolishing ranking?

If every time you measure something, a problem is revealed
you can solve that problem by stopping the measuring,
like a Kenyan
The Kenya Certificate of Primary Education results are out. For the first time in the history of KCPE, we will not rank schools. It demeans children and forever scars them when we make them compete against each other, or so we think.

The purpose of an education is to impart knowledge, rather than rank small children.

As usual, we are missing the point, or as I happened to be taught, missing the forest for the trees. Why?

Well, I'll agree with you that perhaps we should not rank children, as this may not serve a lot of purpose, besides that of blowing horns, or as some people said, tossing our children around like potatoes.

It should not escape us though, that even with no outright ranking, KCPE candidates will still be ranked, like Kenyan coffee. The top performers will go to the good schools, the national and provincial schools. At the bottom, the "poor performers", about 200,000 of the 800,000 who sat for KCPE, will be discarded as waste. That's our Kenyan system as it is today.

So while we don't officially rank students, we still do so eventually. We can only escape this by building enough secondary schools to absorb all KCPE candidates, and by ensuring they are not just schools, but they equally have access to teachers, teaching materials and especially well stocked laboratories.



Back from digressing, to the ranking of primary schools.

Without ranking primary schools, the public has no measure of how these schools perform.

Previously, good performing private-run schools have been rewarded by parents who flock to these schools, ready to pay top dollar (cliche) to enroll their students in these schools. Such schools also game the system by having two exam centres, with poor performing students enrolled in different exam centres, so as not to lower the mean of the top performing school.

I went to one such "academy". Some of my classmates sat for their  their KCPE in a nearby government run school. Some parents took matters into their own hands. They registered their average performing students in neighbouring administrative districts. See, Nyandarua district (now county) has a high number of good performing private and government schools.

Secondary schools use a quota system to enrol students. The best secondary schools pick the best students from each district, like cherry picking coffee berries. Once they have had their fill, they allow those under them to take their pick, and on and on.

The less desirable a school is, the lesser performing a lot it has to pick from.

So to increase the chance of your child going to a good school, let them sit for KCPE in the neighbouring, less competitive Samburu district or Laikipia district.

Sorry, I digressed again. Being a great tour guide, I have to take you round the mountain before bringing you to the peak.

Without a way of measuring how schools perform, we cannot see the underperforming schools. If we cannot tell which schools underperform, we have a lesser incentive of fixing or questioning the underperformance.

The Ministry of Education can still compare and rank schools to see such patterns, however, it is no longer under pressure from the public.

To the public, it is no longer outright evident, for example, that private run schools are outperforming public ones, or that schools in Wajir are being outranked by schools from Nyandarua. The government is under less pressure to even  out the quality of education, such that even if we did rank schools, the difference in performance is unlike the current one of day and night.

By abolishing ranking, we are simply sweeping dirt under the few carpets we own.

Furthermore, the incentives to rank schools are still there, seeing that parents will be rewarded by taking their children to better performing schools.

See the problem? Great, now turn till you no longer see the problem. See, the problem has now gone away by itself, or so, we lie to ourselves.

If the rewards are high, or restricted to a few, people will always game the system. It's human nature. Guarantee every Kenyan student proper education to university, and perhaps people will no longer be interested in which school ranked first.







Comments

Popular posts from this blog

A to Z of Girl Pick-up Lines

Girl,  You are like a breath of fresh air , like an outstanding piece of Art in an art gallery  There are many things you and me can be, but it puts a smile of satisfaction on my face and a smile of envy on my buddies faces that you both beautiful and bootyfull  E ither your creator must have taken the greatest care creating you or your cheated your way around heaven, 'coz you clearly the prettiest girl on earth  D on't ask why my breathing quickens every time I see you; setting my eyes on you makes me feel like I am drowning in your beauty, I have to catch my breath   Exciting, Exotic, Elegant, Electrifying ; so many definitions in english , but when it comes to the human race, girl, you are the one and only definition of all the above  W hen I say you are fly , it may be due to the sensation of flying off the ground that I get when I am around you. Some girls are beautiful, a few are decent, even fewer got class; I didn't know I could find all this qualities in one gir

Beers in Kenya: A sober opinion

Note: This is a dated post and has since been mostly passed by events. SAB Miller beers including Castle and Peroni are no longer widely available in Kenya after their exist. Sirville Brewery was bought out by Brew Bistro before being permanently shut in a tax dispute. Kenya is a land of milk, honey, beaches and taxes. I have penned, or is typed, a newer post here .  Peroni - One of the best beers in Kenya. Did a taste of canned and bottled Italian, and bottled Tanzanian I like the tangy flavour and body in Tanzanian Peroni. The can is close. Heineken drinkers will like the Italian one.  I have had a short beer swigging stint in my life. It has however been long enough for me to share my opinion of Kenyan beer. Interestingly, over the course of sharing such opinions with other drunkards connoisseurs,  I have found that we all have different views as to what beer is the best, which one makes you too drunk, or which one gives one free, extra hangover for every hangover you get

Nairobi's Top 4 Texas Brisket Places Reviewed and Ranked

Brisket on a bed of roast vegetables with barbecue sauce at Texas Brisket, Kikuyu  This review has been updated after a number of you suggested I try the brisket at County2County.  What's the best place to have Brisket in Nairobi? What's even brisket?  Brisket is one of the toughest cuts in a cow, from around the belly. It is so tough that it has to be smoked for about 16 hours to tenderise. But that there, is the catch.  12 to 16 hours later, it is the most flavourful and softest cut you will ever have. So full of flavour and so soft you can pick it apart with your fingers.  However, due to the long cooking time involved, only a few places offer brisket in Nairobi.  The best so far is Texas Brisket which is located within Kikuyu Railway station.  They do the meat for a proper 16 hours, and will usually have a fatty or non-fatty portion. The fatty portions are more tasty. A 500 gram serving goes for KSh. 900 and a 1 KG order comes with a serving of free fries. Their brisket has

Kenya Power customers suffer from Ksh 0.5 billion faulty prepaid meters

1st Phase Actaris prepaid meters , which work well Kenya Power is a famous company in Kenya, one which draws what my colleagues in media will call "mixed reactions". While those in urban areas such as Nairobi regard Kenya Power as a very unreliable firm, I have heard of villages in rural areas where blackouts go unreported for even 3 days . To the rural people, recent electrification means that at least they get to get electricity for some days, which is better than no electricity. In urban areas, the story is not any different. Around Imara Daima along Mombasa Road, power is mostly reliable, with blackouts been few in a week, and even at times been less than 10 in a month. In other places in the city, blackouts are a daily occurrence, and in some places, the blackouts are more than meals, counting two teas , breakfast, lunch and dinner. Another aspect about Kenya Power is the prepaid meters, which like the firm, are equally loved and hated. Ever since I became prou

Medicines in Kenya: Cure or Poison?

This Drug available at most hospitals here is prescribed under restriction in the United States. The medicine is often prescribed in non-deserving situations in the country. Many of us do not like medicines or visiting health centres, not that we have a choice. When one is sick, they have to visit a health centre. It's at the health centres that one is given medicines, drugs that are expected to cure the ailment. Prevention, we are told, is better than cure. For this reason, some of us will visit the health centres for preventive drugs - maybe we are a malaria prone area and are trying to limit our exposure to it. Looking at the health sector in Kenya, it is far from reaching the health for all status. The country , like many of it's neighbours, faces an acute shortage of doctors. The number has steadily been rising over the years as the government tries to train more doctors to bridge the shortfall. However, bridging the shortfall has been made difficult by many count