The number of those who scored a grade of D and below stood at 369,311 in the 2023 Kenya Certificate of Secondary Education (KCSE) examination results released by the Education Cabinet Secretary (CS) Dr. Ezekiel Machogu on Monday 8.
Speaking at Moi Girls High School in Eldoret, the CS said 58.27% or 526,222 candidates who sat for the exam managed to score a grade of D+ and above as compared to 59.14% or 522,588 candidates in 2022.
“Overall, I am impressed by the quality of grades that are coming out of our sub-county schools that produced 283 candidates with mean grades of A and A- in the 2023 KCSE Examination. I urge all stakeholders to invest more in the Sub County schools, where more of our learners attend school,” he said.
He noted that 1,216 candidates managed to score an A grade compared to 1,146 in 2022. The number of male candidates to score an A in 2023 reduced to 825 from 875 in 2022 while that of female candidates increased from 271 in 2022 to 391 in 2023.
Additionally, the Kenya National Examinations Council will administer qualifying examinations for the 2,000 candidates who failed to sit the KCPE examination. These candidates will join Form One and sit the qualifying examinations later to be registered for the KCSE examination in Form Four.
As was the case last year, Nakuru county was responsible for the highest number of candidates who registered for the KCSE exam at 45,791 followed closely by Kakamega (45,508) and Bungoma (39,014). The total number of candidates who registered for their exam in Nairobi stood at 32,355.
While the total number of candidates who registered for the 2023 exams stood at 903,138, only 895,533 sat for it, with 450,554 being male and 448,899 female. There was also an increase of 18,037 candidates (2.05%) as compared to 2022 where the total candidates who sat for the exam stood at 881,416; 443,644 male and 437,772 female.
Since 2019, the number of candidates who sat for the KCSE exams have increased by 202,231, with female candidates increasing by 107,459 while the male by 94,772.
The 2023 KCSE examination was also the first to introduce the new grading structure approved by the Council. Under this system, the overall grade considers the best-performed language subject (English/Kiswahili/Kenyan Sign Language), Mathematics, and the best-performed five subjects.
“The new reform measure will allow a larger number of students to pursue courses of their choice at the universities, diploma and TVET (Technical and Vocational Education) training at certificate and artisan levels than was previously when the grading was more restrictive,” said Machogu.
Despite an overall improvement in the KCSE results, challenges remain for the education sector. The implementation of the Competency-Based Curriculum (CBC) in primary and junior schools has led to a shake-up in staffing levels. The reduction in the number of classes at the primary school level has resulted an excess of 18,194 staff. While on the other hand, the addition of one class in 2024 (Grade 8) at the junior school level has created a staffing shortage of 42,117 teachers. The current number of teachers in junior schools falls short of the required 99,045.
Also, this year, the Teachers Service Commission (TSC) has the challenge of tackling vacant principal positions whereby 198 principal positions need to be filled across various schools. In order to deal with this challenge in the current financial year, the Commission plans to promote 36,505 teachers to different grades, ranging from C2 to D5. This will redistribute these teachers to ensure balanced teacher-to-learner ratios in all institutions. There is a need for an additional 20,000 teachers of which the TSC has asked for financial support from the government.
To support learners and to act as an assurance the government is behind the sector, the government through the National Treasury has already released Sh31.34 billion. These funds have been crucial to assisting in the smooth opening of schools for the first term of the 2024 calendar year.