Kenya Certificate of Primary Education Exam Results

The results for last month’s Kenya Certificate of Primary Education (KCPE) exams were announced, with 952,000 students sitting the examinations. 5,190 students achieved a mark above 400 (out of 500), down from 7,560 in 2015.

22 per cent of students (206,000) scored between 301 and 400 marks. Nationwide, marks were similar to 2015 across the board, other than in the 400 and above category where top schools seemingly suffered. This is largely because of Dr Matiang’i - the Cabinet Secretary for the Ministry of Education, Science and Technology’s – anti-cheating initiative, which aggressively curbed instances of foul play.

For the first time in KCPE’s history, there wasn’t a single case of cheating, meaning all candidates were able to receive their results.

We received news of great success in many of our schools. iMlango schools in Kilifi impressed in particular, with their mean KCPE mark nine points higher than the county average (235 vs. 226), and improving eight points when compared to 2015.

Kilifi ranked 40th out of 47 counties in the 2016 KCPE results, so we’re especially encouraged with the iMlango schools’ progress in this county.

Mayowe Primary (Malindi subcounty, Kilifi) is one such school that saw significant improvement from 2015, recording a mean improvement of 33.28. Their score breakdown was very similar to that of the national average (nine out of 38 pupils, or 24 per cent, achieved 301-400 marks), which is a great achievement considering Kilifi placed 40th out of the 47 counties, and that Malindi subcounty suffered acutely during Kilifi’s drought period between August and October.

Happy, a student at Mayowe Primary, managed to score 359 in her KCPE and gained admission to one of the best county schools in Kilifi, Waa Girls Secondary. Her teacher, Mr Nyoka, attributes her performance to her positive perception of education following the inception of iMlango.

We also talked to a couple of the head teachers at schools where some pupils have excelled. Vitale HGM in Makueni had seven pupils (four girls) that scored above 400 in their KCPE. The head teacher said that as an example, Candid (one of the seven pupils) would frequently talk about how access to the computer labs provided a good source of learning material throughout the two years – particularly the online Q-Files encyclopaedia.

These cases all show that despite the marginalised conditions which our students face, academic excellence can be a reality.

Until next time,
The iMlango team

How internet access is making a big difference at this primary school in Kenya

Photo credit: One Campaign

Photo credit: One Campaign

The following is a post by Megan Iacobini de Fazio, guest blogger for the One Campaign.

The generator comes back to life with a loud rumble, and a cheer rings through the classroom as the computer screens flicker back on. Break time has only just finished at Kibiko Primary School, but there is a scramble among the children to log onto their computers. The lesson is about to start, and they can’t wait.

“I’ve noticed a change in attitude. The children used to be intimidated by subjects like math, but now it’s fun for them and they look forward to their time in the lab,” says Nelius Njiru, who teaches math, science, and Swahili at Kibiko.

Kibiko is one of 205 primary schools across four Kenyan counties to be part of the iMlango program, which aims to improve education by delivering internet access, computer labs, smartcard-based attendance monitoring, and online learning tools to primary school children.

The iMlango platform offers one-on-one math tuition and allows students to access a wealth of online content, including English lessons, African stories with a social message, and life skills training.

And, while simply making class more fun with iMlango’s interactive lesson plans is enough to entice some children back to school, others have more serious reasons for missing class.

“I used to stay at home sometimes because we didn’t have food or I could not wash my uniform,” says Silvia, a Kibiko 7th grader who puts into words an experience that is common for many girls in Kenya. In some communities, when families are unable to cover the costs of their children’s education, the girls are usually the first to pay the price of poverty and stay home.

“Some people here think that girls should work, not study,” says Joan, a 7th-grade student. “When girls are educated they can achieve a lot for themselves and also help their community.” Some of the other girls in the classroom—who want to be neurosurgeons, lecturers, and journalists when they grow up—nod their heads in agreement.

To help girls achieve a quality education, iMlango has also started offering financial incentives to the most underprivileged families. Five dollars are uploaded every fortnight onto a pink plastic smartcard, which is usually given to the women in the family and can only be used with selected merchants.

“My mother can buy soap and food with the pink card, and it helps a lot,” says Silvia. “I never miss school anymore.”

iMlango, which is supported by the Kenyan Ministry of Education, Science, and Technology and delivered by four companies working in partnership with the UK’s Department for International Development (DFID), has already impacted the lives of 68,000 girls across Kenya.

And its impact is not limited to academic subjects. The program offers a variety of after-school activities, such as debate club and a tree club, where students can plant trees and learn about the environment. Girls especially are encouraged to work on issues affecting them and come up with their own projects, which they can then share with other schools in the network. For example, girls from a school in Makueni have created content on the importance of hand washing and good hygiene. At Kibiko, Silvia and her friends compete in the national debate competitions and, through the school’s girls’ club, have learned how to administer first aid and make healthy juices.

While the girls at Kibiko, like at many other schools around the world, face unique obstacles to their right to education, innovative programs like iMlango, together with the girls’ determination to rise above these obstacles, is giving them a chance to achieve their goals.

“It has given us a lot of confidence because we know that our computer, math, and English skills are as good as anyone else’s. We really know how to express ourselves now,” says Joan.

The teachers agree. According to Nelius, “iMlango is doing wonders for our children.”

UK Secretary of State for International Development visits Kenya

We were honoured to be invited to the Digitech event on Technology and Innovation on Sunday 23 October at the British High Commissioner’s Residence, which was attended by the Rt Hon Priti Patel MP, Secretary of State for International Development.

The event formed part of Ms Patel’s first trip to Africa since being appointed Secretary of State in the summer and involved seeing first-hand how UK Aid investment is boosting economic and educational development in Kenya. The event focused on how digital technology and innovation is transforming the lives of Kenyans, in particular the poor, and the role that UK Aid, Kenyan and UK businesses can play in this transformation.

During the event we explained to Ms Patel how our technology is being utilised to deliver cash payments via smart card to help bring marginalised girls back to school, and demonstrated the process used to monitor student attendance in rural schools.

We were also able to provide Ms Patel with some of our data findings from the programme, which detailed how child literacy is improving due to the online education resources that the digital learning platform delivers to students in the classroom.

In her speech to event attendees, Ms Patel referenced the power of the digital technology on display at the event - in particular the range of platforms that are delivering internet access to Kenya’s poorest children - and how DFID will continue to support these innovative approaches to development in Kenya.

Until next time,
The iMlango team