KCSE 2021 Release Prof Magoha’s Speech

Ladies and Gentlemen;

Colleagues, friends, parents and learners from the education sector and beyond. I am happy to address you this afternoon – my final address on the release of examination results under the current administration.

I thank the Almighty God and His Excellency the President for his wisdom in bestowing me with the responsibility of serving Kenyans both as the Chairperson of KNEC from 2016 to 2019, and as Cabinet Secretary for Education from March 2019 to date.

As I wind up my tenure as Cabinet Secretary under this administration, I look back at the privilege I have been accorded to transform the way national examinations are conducted and broader education sector reforms, with a lot of appreciation and satisfaction.

Through my journey at KNEC and at the Ministry, many successes particularly in the conduct of national examinations have been registered through the Multiagency approach. In this regard, I wish to positively recognize and acknowledge the following:

1. The Almighty God who has given us the strength and wisdom to champion examinations reforms;
2. His Excellency the President for his strong leadership, guidance and stewardship;
3. Interior and National Coordination of Government Dr Fred Matiang’i for the key role that he played in initiating the examination reforms and for the role that he continues to play in the security sector to support the reforms;

4. Dr Amina Mohammed who perpetuated the implementation of the reforms during her tenure at the Ministry of Education;
5. The late Joseph Nkaiserry whose partnership with ICT colleague Joseph Mucheru was critical in ensuring that examinations were secured and efficiently delivered;
6. Dr Belio Kipsang’ whose experience was key to the reforms when he was the Principal Secretary for Early Learning and Basic Education;
7. Dr Nancy Macharia who has consistently ensured that the Teachers Service Commission rallies behind the reforms; 

8. Dr Mercy Karogo, the immediate former CEO of KNEC whose leadership at KNEC led to the successful implementation of the reforms during her tenure;
9. Members of the KNEC Council as well as members of the entire KNEC fraternity for supporting the reforms;
10. Ministry Officials who have been involved in the monitoring of examinations;

11. Our Teachers and Centre Managers for preparing their students and overseeing the conduct of the examinations;
12. Our NGAO and Security Officers for overseeing logistical and security arrangements on our national examinations; and
13. Last, but not least, my family which has stood by me in this journey.

Efforts of this incredible team in delivering credible examinations for our children will remain etched in the history of our country. For the many more Cabinet Secretaries that will come after me, the main thing that I advise them, is to not drop the ball in safeguarding the integrity of our national examinations.

They must keep intact the trajectory of the examination reforms that we have put in place.

This trajectory has ensured that no learner fails to sit national examinations for inability to pay the required fees. This was achieved when the Government took over the payment of examination fees for all candidates enrolled in both public and private schools.

In this regard, since 2016, the Government has so far spent Ksh.5.5 billion for KCPE and Ksh.22 billion for KCSE totaling Ksh.27.7 billion.

For the exceptional cases of persons who engage in examination malpractices, they have been dealt with as per the law. In the spirit of responsible journalism, I urge the media to ensure accuracy, fairness, objectivity and the discipline of strict verification before reporting on cases of examination malpractices.

I have ensured that the November – December 2022 examinations for Grade 6, Class 8 and Form 4 candidates are ready for administration. I direct KNEC to start the process of registering ALL candidates for the 2022 Grade 6, KCPE and KCSE examinations.

Arising from my stint as the Head of the Education Sector, I am sure that the gains that we have made have created the necessary momentum for even greater reforms. I wish to specifically mention a few of the reforms that have been executed during my

1. Increased enrolment and transition rates in primary education Under the Free Primary Education program, the Government has continued to spend billions in putting every child of school-going age in the classroom in all public primary schools.

Since 2013, the Government has continued to actualize the right to education and increase access to quality education for every learner in ALL public schools by allocating Kshs.1,420 per year to each public primary school learner amounting to:

a)A total of Kshs.94.95 billion to learners in 22,998 public primary schools; and

b)A total of Kshs.3.44 billion to 216,420 SNE learners in 2,059 public primary schools. We have been consistent to track each cohort as it transitions to each class over the last 10 years right from the time they entered Class One to the time they sat their KCPE.

Thanks to the programme, the country has stood tall in the region, posting impressive net and gross enrolment and retention rates. 

2. Impressive transition rates from primary to secondary education Under the 100 per cent transition policy, the Government of President Uhuru Kenyatta has sustained the push to have every KCPE candidate gets enrolled in Form One and progresses to Form Four.

I am proud to have led the campaigns that have achieved the 100 per cent transition of two KCPE cohorts (2019 and 2020). This has seen enrolment in secondary schools’ grow from 1.3 million in 2008 to 3.5 million in 2022.

Beginning May 3, 2022, we shall work tirelessly to ensure that all the 2021 KCPE candidates join Form One in the letter and spirit of the 100% transition policy. In the same spirit, I urge stakeholders to increase investment in sub county schools where the bulk of our learners study and whose performance has been improving year after year.

3. Free Day Secondary school learning The government has made deliberate efforts to make education not only accessible but also affordable.

This has been demonstrated by raising of capitation for Free Day Secondary Education (FDSE) from Ksh.12,870 to the current Kshs.22,244.

This has ensured that thousands of learners, many from humble backgrounds, have attended and completed their secondary education without having to pay for any other costs. Since 2013, the capitation to public secondary school learners amount to:

a) A total of Kshs.325.67 billion to 23,832,734 learners in public secondary schools; and
b) A total of Kshs.1.52 billion to 34,194 SNE learners in 768 public secondary schools.

4. Elimu Scholarships for 27,000 secondary school students Over the last two years, the Government has awarded 18,000 full secondary school scholarships to needy and vulnerable children – thousands of them from urban informal settlements for their entire four years of secondary school education.

We have put a smile to many households whose children would otherwise not have joined some of our best national secondary schools. 

The third batch of 9,000 scholarships will be awarded to the 2021 KCPE examination candidates who will join Form One next month. I urge needy candidates from urban informal settlements, rural and marginalized areas as well as those from ASAL regions to apply for consideration of the award of these scholarships.

5. Edu-Afya Medical Insurance Scheme for secondary school learners In 2017, the Ministry of Education entered into an agreement with the National Hospital Insurance Fund to run a medical health insurance scheme for all secondary school learners.

Since then, the Government has been setting aside Ksh.4 billion annually to ensure the learners stay healthy by being attended to in health facilities countrywide. 

6. Phased implementation of the Competency Based Curriculum Following recommendations of various Taskforces, Commissions, Needs Assessments, and as part of implementing the East African Community Framework for Harmonization of Education Systems and Curricula, the Government initiated the CBC reforms in 2016.

The reforms have incorporated measures which:

a) Identify and nurture every learner’s potential;
b) Emphasize practical learning as opposed to theoretical teaching;
c) Emphasize the application of knowledge and acquisition of competencies as opposed to rote memorization of content;
d) Provide opportunities for the acquisition of values and participation in community service-learning; 
e) Provide pathways and tracks in senior secondary schools that is aligned to the broad abilities and career interests of learners;
f) Emphasize early career guidance from basic education;
g) Develop effective parental empowerment and engagement programs; and
h) Balance formative and summative assessments. 

The roll-out of the CBC curriculum is on course and the inaugural class is scheduled to join Grade 6 when schools re-open on Monday. Consequently, after schools re-open, we shall have more than 9 million children learning under the CBC curriculum.

To ensure that the roll-out of the curriculum remains on course, the Government has worked tirelessly to ensure:

a) Robust teacher training of 229,000 teachers so far. Teacher training for Junior Secondary School is also due to take place next month and by the time the learners transition to Grade 7 in January next year, a projected 60,000 teachers comprising 6 teachers per school from public and private secondary schools will have been adequately equipped to effectively deal with the transition; 

b) Construction of classrooms to support the establishment of Junior Secondary Schools. I am pleased to inform you that this construction is ongoing and the first phase of 6,470 classrooms should be completed by the end of this month. Out of the projected 10,000 classrooms, the second phase of the remaining 3,530 classrooms will be completed between May and August 2022 in compliance with the directive issued by H. E. the President on Mashujaa Day last year.

This government will therefore ensure that there is adequate infrastructure to support transition to Junior Secondary School next year.

c) Support for digital infrastructure to support digital learning. This has been extended by ensuring increased connectivity of schools to electricity from various sources, expanded internet connectivity, investment in digital devices, investment in digital learning content; and capacity building of teachers on digital learning;

d) That we raise morally and ethically upright citizens is a responsibility that we must all undertake with zeal. To this end, we have had robust engagement with religious groups and other stakeholders to ensure that Value-Based Education is mainstreamed in the curriculum;

e) While we acknowledge the key role played by teachers in schools, this must be complemented by parental involvement in the learning process. Since charity begins at home, The Role of the parent in the learning and upbringing of their children cannot be gainsaid. To this end, the CBC has ensured Parental Engagement with the teaching and learning of their children.

I note that there has been robust discourse from many quarters especially on social media from parents on the learning of their children. I also note that, never in the history of our country has there been as much engagement from parents whether positive or negative on matters relating to the learning of their children.

As a government, we take this positively as an indication of the concern parents continue to show towards their children’s education and undertake to work towards continuous parental empowerment and engagement.

We shall continue to encourage parents to support the learning of their children through the implementation of the curriculum.

7. Building back better after COVID-19 pandemic disruptions The COVID-19 pandemic led to the closure of ALL our educational institutions in 2020.

This was unprecedented in the history of our country. At the global peak of the COVID-19 pandemic, over 1.6 billion learners in more than 190 countries found themselves abruptly out of school while over 100 million teachers and school personnel were impacted by the sudden closure of learning institutions. 

Following the closure of all our learning institutions in mid-March 2020, some learners resumed studies in October 2020 while the rest resumed in January 2021.

This constituted a long break of more than 8 months out of school for most learners. This situation notwithstanding, the education sector has so far rallied with longer teaching and learning hours and shorter breaks at the end of each school term to ensure that the lost time is recovered.

As we look forward to opening for another school year on April 25th, 2022, I am pleased that by the time we handover to the incoming government, the learning calendar will have normalized and our traditional learning calendar, which begins in January of every year, will have resumed.

This would not have been achieved without the dedication of our gallant teachers who put their lives on the line to contribute to this critical aspect of our national development.

For this, the country will forever remain in the teachers’ debt. I also wish to thank our parents who ensured that their children remained engaged during the extended period of school closure and that learning loss was minimized as a result.

The disruption occasioned by the pandemic also led to an increased uptake in digital learning, which we shall continue to build on and extend across the country to ensure that we reinforce our capacity to deal with such disruptive occurrences in the future.

8. Provision of Free textbooks to every child to the ratio of 1:1 I am pleased to also confirm that the Government has spent Kshs.33.38 billion between 2018 and now to achieve a Learner: Book ratio of 1:1 in ALL public primary and secondary schools.

This has improved the quality of education while also reducing the burden of the cost of education on parents. Progressively, as a country, we should work towards going even further to ensure that we provide a variety of learning materials to enrich the teaching and learning experience.

9. Provision of classroom desks As part of an economic stimulus program, the government facilitated the provision of 622,357 desks to both public primary and secondary schools worth Kshs.1.9 billion in the 2020/2021 Financial Year.

Primary schools received 359,550 desks while secondary schools received 262,707 lockers and chairs. The total number of schools that benefited from the supply of desks were 5,136 for primary and 5,254 for secondary schools.

A further 600 Million has been set aside to ensure that this program continues to adequately equip our schools and improve the learning environment.

10. Sanitary towels for school girls Every year, the Government procures sanitary towels for girls in public primary schools in Kenya.

Monitoring reports reveal that this has aided in the reduction of girls’ absenteeism in schools, improved performance and better Menstrual Hygiene Management. Since 2018, Kshs.3.017 billion has been spent in procuring sanitary towels for 7,515,864 girls in public primary schools in Kenya.

11. Power connection in schools 

The focus on electrification of schools has been a priority. This has been implemented through grid extensions in schools within the national grid network and installation of solar in schools in off-grid areas. So far, over 90% of schools have been connected. 

This has culminated in increased improved learning outcomes through enhanced teaching and learning hours, enhanced utilization of technology and modern mass media tools in the classroom.

Connecting households around schools has also transformed the local economy and improved security among other benefits.

12. Improved Learning for Special Needs Education (SNE) Learners 
The Government has made remarkable progress in improving access, equity, relevance and transition in education for SNE learners.

This has increased the number of SNE schools and increased enrolment for SNE learners. Each public primary SNE learner also gets capitation of Kshs.3,720/- while each secondary school SNE learner gets capitation of Kshs.53,807/-. 

The SNE sector will also be supported by a new state of the art National Psycho-Assessment and Referral Centre at the Kenya Institute of Special Education (KISE) to strengthen educational assessment and facilitate placement of children with special needs in appropriate educational programs.

We have also registered significant strides in the adaptation of textbooks in the areas of hearing, physical and visual impairment and the supply of braille books for learners who are totally blind.

13. School Feeding Program
The Government, in collaboration with partners such as the UN World Food Program (WFP) and the World Bank, has implemented the school feeding program whose achievements include: feeding of public primary school children from informal settlements and ASAL regions;

introduction of corn soya blend meals whose fortification elements are vital for the mental development of young children; encouraged parents to enrol and keep their children in school; and improved learner participation and retention.

To enrich the nutrition of learners’ meals and ensure a balanced diet, plans are underway to introduce canned beef to their meals.

14. ICT Integration in Education
The Government initiated the Digital Learning Program in 2013 out of the conviction that technology has the power to improve learning outcomes, while also preparing learners to thrive in the 21st century.

This will also make Kenyans more competitive in the global economy. Through the DLP, public primary schools received teacher and learner digital devices, digital content servers, wireless routers and projectors.

A total of 21,717 out of 22,988 primary schools (94%) have been supplied with these digital devices. Installation is in progress for the remaining schools that are newly registered. The Government has up-scaled efforts to optimise utilisation of the DLP infrastructure to improve learning outcomes in schools.


A total of 826,807 candidates sat the examination in the 2021 KCSE Examination compared to 747,161 candidates in 2020.

This represented an increase of 79,646 candidates (10.66%). Of the 826,807 candidates who sat the 2021 KCSE Examination, 421,318 were male while 405,489 were female, representing 50.96% and 49.04% of the total candidature respectively; Eighteen counties had more female than male candidates in the 2021 KCSE examination compared to 15 counties in 2020.

The 18 counties were: Taita Taveta, Nyandarua, Nyeri, Kirinyaga, Murang’a, Kiambu, Machakos, Kitui, Meru, Elgeyo Marakwet, Busia, Kakamega, Vihiga, Tharaka Nithi, Nairobi, Uasin Gishu, Laikipia and Kisumu.


In the 2021 KCSE Examination, 11 subjects recorded a significant improvement in performance, compared to 19 subjects that recorded a significant improvement in performance in 2020.

This shows a decline in performance in 2021. There was no significant change in performance in seven of the subjects offered during the 2021 KCSE examination.


There were 1,138 (0.14%) candidates who obtained an overall Grade A in the 2021 KCSE Examination compared to 893 (0.12%) candidates in 2020.

The number of candidates with minimum university entry qualification of Grade C+ and above rose to 145,145 (17.49%) in the year 2021 KCSE Examination compared to 143,140 (19.03%) in 2020.

The percentage of candidates with mean Grade of C+ and above has declined from 19.03 to 17.49 The number of candidates with a minimum TVET Diploma courses qualification of grade C- and above in 2021 was 325,896 (39.27%). We therefore need to invest more in TVET institutions where the bulk of our KCSE Examination graduands will study.


Ahead of the 2021 KCSE, the Government heightened measures meant to pre-empt any forms of cheating through the combined efforts of all the members of the multi-Agency Team. The result of this enhanced 50 vigilance was that nearly all the cases of cheating that would have occurred were prevented.

The country would bear me witness that many mobile phones that would have been used to relay pre-exposed examination materials were confiscated before they could be used. However, there were 441 cases reported in the 2021 KCSE Examination and one case of a center with all the results withheld.

I wish to categorically state that KNEC will not have any mercy on examination offenders who must be dealt with decisively. Consequently, examination results of all the 441 cases have been cancelled.

I urge all stakeholders to support sustained Government efforts to end examination irregularities.


All candidates are advised to collect their results from their respective examination centers. As per our recent practice, individual candidates’ results can also be accessed by sending a candidate’s index number followed by the initials “KCSE” through a Short Message Service (SMS) to 20076. This service will be available immediately after this event.

I am now happy to declare the 2021 KCSE examination results officially released. I wish all candidates success in their future endeavors.




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