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Form One admission letters from school principals ‘not recognized’

Shekinah Onzere who is to join State House Girls in form one fits into her new school uniform at Uniform Distributors along River Road in Nairobi on December 30,2018 as her mother looks on. Many parents are still not sure over which syllabus to buy books for. [Photo: Denish Ochieng/ Standard

Shock awaits thousands of Form One students who received admission letters from principals as the Government maintained that it would only recognize letters generated from its online system.

In a departure from the past where school principals had the liberty of dishing out letters to parents whose children had not initially been admitted to their institutions, stringent measures now put in place by the Education ministry bar any such deals.

Parents who have obtained admission letters through the back door and not the ministry’s National Education Management Information System (Nemis) could find themselves going back home with their children when they report to school on Monday.

Education Cabinet Secretary Amina Mohamed has reiterated the ministry’s warnings that letters not generated from the portal would be deemed fake as they would not be in the ministry’s records.

This will affect some of the 296,758 Form One students who were selected to join national, extra-county and county schools.

Ms Amina had promised that all the 12,273 candidates who scored more than 400 marks in last year’s exams would be selected to join any of the 103 national schools.But in a circular dated yesterday and sent to regional and county coordinators of education, Basic Education Principal Secretary Belio Kipsang directed that for the Government to account for every child in school, it had decided that the use of Nemis be the central point of admission.

Nemis is a web-based data management solution by the ministry which collects data and information from education institutions; processes and reports the status of designed indicators; and provides the sector with a solid ground for effective management.

The online platform tracks performance mobility of learners and teaching staff to ensure efficiency and effective utilisation of education resources. It also helps streamline data management for informed decision-making and planning of the education sector by hosting student or pupil data linked to learners’ unique personal identifiers (UPIs).

In a strong-worded directive to education officials and principals on handling of admissions through the system, Dr Kipsang said the Government was reaching out to them for the second time so that they do not flout its orders.

“Reference is made to our earlier circular dated December 13, 2018 on handling Form One admissions whose selection process has come to a successful process. The next phase is to deal with reporting of those selected,” the PS said.

“As a consequence of the above, all placement and admissions must be done through the system. No school should issue an admission outside the system.”He warned that any letter issued by any school save for sub-county and private schools will not be valid for admission.“Any school that may have offered admission to students outside Nemis should urgently recall those joining instructions. An audit will be undertaken at the end of the admission process on the same,” the PS said.

He said the ministry was aware of cases where some schools were asking those seeking placements to pre-pay school fees.

“This is illegal and punishable by law. Action will be taken against school boards that will be found to condone such practice. For avoidance of doubt, only those in the Nemis list of a particular school and has system-generated joining instructions will be admitted,” Kipsang said.He directed regional coordinators of education and county education officers to urgently register in Nemis to be able to perform approval of admissions and other tasks assigned to their offices.“You are reminded that at the close of the reporting day of January 11, 2019, a report on all admissions will be generated for necessary action. Principals should be aware that only Form One students admitted through Nemis will be provided Government capitation,” Kipsang said.

He also directed education field officers to implement the 100 per cent transition policy to ensure every child secures a place in a secondary school.The news will come as a shock to the parents of some of the 31,000 candidates who sat the 2018 Kenya Certificate of Primary Education exams and were assured of admission to national schools.

The Government is projecting a 100 per cent transition for the over one million candidates who sat the exams last year.

Source: Standard