64% of Students Fail Primary Education Certificate Exam
Volume 1, Issue 2 / January 2009
Only 36% of students in Kakuma Refugee Camp passed the 2008 Kenya Certificate of Primary Education (KCPE) exam. Of the 1,215 students who sat for exams in Kakuma Camp primary schools, 440 are academically qualified to continue on to secondary education. Of those who passed, 50 students were girls.
The minimum score to pass the KCPE exam is 250 (out of a total of 500). The 2008 performance, at a mean score of 220, is slightly lower than the 2007 performance, with a mean score of 226. The highest-scoring boy earned 365 marks, while the two highest-scoring girls tied at 310 marks.
The LWF Education department encountered several challenges during 2008 that contributed to a drop in students’ performance from 2007. From 2005 to 2008, LWF Education lost the majority of their 215 fully trained teachers. Many of these teachers departed Kakuma for repatriation to Sudan.
Due to teacher shortages, LWF was forced to lower their minimum requirements for teachers and recruit less qualified staff. As a result, most teachers in 2008 were freshly recruited with little experience.
Other challenges in 2008 included the closure of several camp primary schools and high teacher turnover among new hires. One source explained that refugee incentive teachers had expected a change in remuneration which never materialized. As a result, teachers were demoralized by the end of the year.
Another contributing factor to the poor KCPE performance may be the new Sudanese education policy. Under the Tripartite Agreement on the repatriation of Sudanese refugees, Sudanese students are no longer eligible to enroll in form one of secondary school.
A primary school inspector says, “Most of the Sudanese students had lost hope even during the exam time since they knew well that even if s/he got good marks, there would be no place for him or her in the only free secondary school in the camp.”
Of those students who passed the KCPE exam, 400 (91%) were Sudanese and will not be allowed to go on to secondary school. The top ten boys and girls were all Sudanese.
Of 1,328 students registered for the 2008 exams, 1,215 students sat for exams.