Education Cabinet Secretary Fred Matiang’i’s speech during the release of the 2017 KCPE examination results







  • The Principal Secretary, State Department of Education, MoE, Belio Kipsang;
  • The Chairperson, KNEC, George Magoha;
  • The CEO, KNEC who is our host, Mercy Karogo;
  • KNEC Council members present;
  • CEOs of various Parastatals present as well as Senior officers from the Ministry of Education;
  • Representatives from Teachers’ Unions: KNUT and KUPPET, the Kenya Private Schools Association, the Kenya National Parents and Teachers Associations and the Heads of Associations for primary and secondary schools present;
  • Members of the Media Fraternity;
  • Ladies and Gentlemen,



I am happy to welcome you all to the release of the 2017 Kenya Certificate of Primary Education (KCPE) examination results today. Initially, this meeting had been called to purely discuss the planned implementation of the Free Day Secondary School learning programme, at which I expected to outline measures to ensure it rolls out smoothly in January. As it were, this has had to change after President Kenyatta asked us to release the KCPE results soon after we held a briefing session this morning. I therefore apologise to all those who intended to attend the earlier programme, which we have now turned into a KCPE examinations release session. In the meantime, I will consult with my ministry colleagues to find another date when we can meet to discuss the free day secondary school learning programme.


The release of the KCPE results today is historic in many fronts. First, it is the first time that we are releasing the results within three weeks. The second unique aspect of these results is that all the candidates who will receive the results today are guaranteed a place in Form One following the Government’s new policy of 100 per cent transition to secondary schools. All the one million-plus children should prepare to be admitted to any of the school categories available in the country, meaning that no parent should not worry about their children remaining at home for lack of a Form One place.


Clearly, I must thank the wonderful team of hardworking men and women from the Kenya National Examinations Council (KNEC), Teachers Service Commission (KNEC) and our ministry for the excellent work they have done to ensure the results were ready at such a short time. I also thank the teachers and parents who, in one way or another, prepared the candidates until they were ready to sit the examinations.  I now wish to highlight some issues that relate to the basic education subsector, before I can officially release the 2017 KCPE results:



As we release the KCPE results this morning, we must no lose sight of the fact that the Kenya Certificate of Secondary Education (KCSE) is still ongoing. We must put the candidates in our prayers as they enter the homestraight of their examinations, which will be concluded on November 29, 2017.

For the second year running, the Ministry of Education is administering both the KCPE and KCSE under a new regulation regime that created an examinations season during which non-candidate classes were out of schools. Other new measures included the fact that head teachers of schools were made centre managers who were required to personally collect examination materials from the containers daily. This was a tough requirement, which we must commend the head teachers for implementing to the letter.

As a result of these measures, which we have kept improving on, the 2017 national examinations were conducted in one of the most conducive and error-free environments as you will find out shortly. For that reason, I wish to profusely thank the head teachers, supervisers, invigilators and examination officials for conducting their work diligently and meticulously.

I must not forget the multi-sectoral approach to the administration of this year’s examinations. You would remember that His Excellency President Kenyatta, during the Mashujaa Day celebrations, personally called for adequate attention to the national examinations. Indeed, he led the way by personally visiting Westlands Primary school in Nairobi to monitor the examinations. This was the cue followed by the majority of my fellow cabinet secretaries and principal secretaries. I wish to thank the multisectoral teams for working with the Ministry of Education with this immeasurable teamwork.

Indeed, as it was the case last year, I wish to report that the Government’s teamwork worked excellently well. And for the second time in many years, the national examinations were not leaked.  Moreover, administration of the examinations, even in the face of extreme weather conditions, was largely a smooth affair.

To this end, I wish to commend the council and chief executive officer of the KNEC for their excellent planning and coordination, the TSC for its effective selection, deployment and management of all supervisers and invigilators.

On a personal note, I cannot tire to mention the overall coordination team of Dr Belio Kipsang, PS in charge of Basic Education, Nancy Macharia, CEO of TSC, Prof George Magoha, chairman KNEC and acting CEO Mercy Karogo and Dr Julius Jwan, CEO of KICD.  Their efforts, in one way or the other, have lead to the success we are celebrating today.

We can now unequivocally state that the Government has all it takes to administer an error-free, transparent and credible national examination – with meticulous planning and a committed staff who operate with high levels of integrity.


Only yesterday, the Supreme Court confirmed that His Excellency President Uhuru Kenyatta was validly elected in the October 26, 2017 fresh presidential election. The import of this is that the Jubilee administration, through the Ministry of Education, can now move to actualize its pre-election pledge of implementing the free day secondary education programme. Already, the Principal Secretary Dr Belio Kipsang has released a circular outlining details of the planned programme, onto which the Government has set aside Ksh56 billion already. What this now means is that from January, no child will be required to pay any tuition fees in any public secondary school. This must be seen as a big scale-up from the free day learning programme that has been running in all public secondary schools.

It is now clear that the Jubilee Government is committed to ensure that every child gets access to education at all levels. We must not forget that the Government now pays examination fees for candidates in all public and private primary and secondary schools.


Over the past two years, the Ministry of Education, together with all stakeholders in the industry have been working out plans to come up with a school curriculum that reflects the wishes and aspirations of our people. So far wide consultations were conducted, which gave rise to a draft curriculum whose pilot has been going on this Third Term. We have proposed, in the planned changes to the education curriculum, to gradually invest in the change that focuses on continuous evaluation. We are alive to the fact that this will require reforming of our current teacher training framework, a retraining of some of the critical actors in the evaluation chain and a relook at the whole process of the spectrum of assessment.


Reports from the field over the piloting have, to say the least, been impressive. The Ministry has been making adjustments based on the feedback from the field trials. It is our plan that, from January, we will roll out the curriculum in a methodical step-bystep manner that will ensure great precision. Nonetheless, all doors are open for stakeholders who might wish to give us necessary feedback.



Last year, the Ministry exposed a scandal in some  private schools that operated multiple examination centres with an aim of engaging in unethical practices meant to enable them to record favourable rankings in national examinations. In the scheme, the schools registered students considered brighter in separate centres while leaving those viewed as weaker to be lumped in one centre. The proprietors of these schools were clearly using innocent pupils in an unscrupulous marketing exercise of their business.


This arose from the fact that the weaker pupils enrolled in sister “satellite” examination centres would not to bring down the mean scores of their main “marketing” schools. These abnormal centres that register as few as 20 students were the ones that topped charts whenever ranking for schools is done.


Last year, we stated that the days of such schools were numbered and that a time had come when they would be exposed. I am happy to announce that owing to the Ministry of Education’s efforts, such unscrupulous centres were stamped out. The effect is that the centres’ excellent mean scores of the yester-years have instantly disappeared in 2017. We, at the ministry, are happy to have restored this normality in our schools that has meant all our schools are equal – public or private.





I now time for me to focus the actual 2017 KCPE Examination results.


5.1     The 2017 KCPE Candidature

A total of 993,718 candidates sat the 2017 KCPE examination. Of these, 498,775 (50.19%) were boys and 494,943 (49.81%) girls. In the 2016 KCPE, 942,021 candidates sat the examination.


The percentage increase in the number of female candidates (5.64%) was higher than that of male candidates (5.34%) in the 2017 KCPE examination. An analysis of candidature trends by gender in the last four years indicates that the percentage increase in the number of girls has consistently been higher than that of boys over this period.


In terms of counties, I wish to note with satisfaction that 27 counties registered more female than male candidates as opposed to 23 in the 2016 KCPE. These counties, which I must praise are: Kakamega, Meru, Bungoma, Nairobi, Embu, Machakos, Vihiga, Kisii, Kitui, Makueni, Siaya, Busia, Nyamira, Tharaka Nithi, Trans Nzoia, Kisumu, Nakuru, Muranga, Mombasa, Elgeyo Marakwet, Kiambu, Nandi, Uasin Gishu, Kirinyaga, Bomet, Laikipia and Nyeri.


The number of candidates who were absent decreased by 6.20% from 10,367 in the year 2016 to 9,724 in the year 2017 KCPE examination.


The counties with the highest candidature in the 2017 KCPE examination were

Nairobi (56,073), Nakuru (50,046), Kakamega (46,448) and Bungoma (45,161) candidates respectively.  The four counties have maintained the same positions for the last two years in this aspect in the KCPE examination.



5.2    Candidates with Special Needs

The Government recognises the rights of learners with disabilities as enshrined in the Kenyan Constitution (2010).  This year, 2,038 candidates with special needs sat the KCPE examination with the highest candidate scoring 426 marks out of the possible 500 marks.


For the second year, we implemented a directive by His Excellency President Uhuru Kenyatta’s that we prepare and administer Special National Examination papers for candidates with special needs. In order to implement this directive, interventions were put in place last year’s national examinations for candidates with special needs.


The interventions included:

  • Special needs candidates were given extra forty five minutes instead of the thirty minutes normally provided;
  • Development of adapted papers for candidates with special needs in the 2016 KCPE examination;
  • Recruitment and training of more examiners for the special needs examination papers;
  • Provision of adapted examination materials for candidates with special needs. The Ministry will continue to ensure that special needs children access quality education.


5.3     Field Administration of the 2017 KCPE Examination

With great humility, I wish to again report that the examination was administered successfully throughout the country between the 31st and 2nd of November 2017. This success would not have been possible without the effort of the 176,251 contracted professionals who included 26,457 supervisors, 61,817 invigilators, 52,590 security officers, 26,295 centre managers, 838 examination management directors, 1,680 security officers manning containers and 6,574 drivers to ensure that the administration of the examination was undertaken in accordance with the laid down rules and regulations that govern the supervision and invigilation of the KCPE examination.  


5.4    Performance of Candidates

I wish to mention that the performance of candidates in this year’s examination has generally improved compared to last year. This is largely attributed to the adequate preparation of candidates by teachers under the new stringent examinations regime. I wish to commend teachers for his, especially given that they prepared the candidates in an election year that saw the country hold two presidential elections, with its attendant heated campaigns.


Performance improved in English, Kiswahili Methamatics, Kenyan Sign Language and Religious Education.

Overall, the top score in this year’s KCPE is 455 marks up from 437 marks in 2016. The number of candidates scoring 400 marks and above rose to 9,846 in 2017 from

5.145 last year. This is indeed commendable (see table).


Mark Range 2017 2016
1 . 401 – 500 9,846




2 . 301 – 400 217,307  207,141
3 . 201 – 300 529,897  501,552
4 . 101 – 200 234,308




5 . 001 – 100 2,360





5.5 Examination Irregularities

The measures put in place in 2016 to guard against examinations irregularities were enhanced in 2017. This included shortening length of time between the time the examination papers are picked up from the container and the time candidates sit for the first paper.  Because of this, in addition to the beefing up of security and surveillance, saw us conduct the examinations is a most professional manner. As such, I wish to report that, for the second successive year, no examinations were leaked. Indeed, we are not cancelling results for any one candidate. All candidates will thus receive their results. Any candidate who misses a grading must, therefore, immediately contact KNEC immediately.

5.6. Form One Selection for 2018

It is the Ministry of Education’s plan that candidates whose results were release today, together with their parents and guardians, must know of the schools where their children will be admitted to in January. As a result, we have decided to launch the Form One selection on December 4, 2017. However, I must add that parents should not expect to go through the annual nightmare of school placement since we have put in place measures to ensure that all the candidates are admitted to secondary schools.

Placement of candidates into public secondary schools based on merit, quotas, equity, affirmative action and student choice. Efforts will be also be made to ensure that children from disadvantaged backgrounds continue with their education when the selection is done. Like last year, I wish to assure the public that all candidates who scored 400 marks and above will be admitted to national schools irrespective of whether they sat they sat their exams in private or public schools.

5.7 Post-KCPE Results Conference

The Ministry of Education believes that assessments must mean something – and not just remain annual rituals. Even as we gradually transform assessment, we have to take the result of each examination administered seriously and seek to analyse the lessons we draw from them. As a result, the Ministry of Education will hold a conference on Thursday at which stakeholders will discuss the KCPE results. Further details will be released in due course.


5.8    Accessing of the 2017 KCPE Examination Results

Before releasing the 2017 KCPE examination results, I wish to inform all candidates and their parents or guardians that the KCPE Examination results will be collected by their respective schools from the Sub County Director of Education offices. Candidates should therefore collect their results from their respective examination centres. Individual candidates’ results can also be accessed by sending a candidate’s index number through a Short Message Service (SMS) to 22252 immediately after this event.


Head teachers will be required to download and print the on-line results slips for candidates in their schools and authenticate the same before they are released to parents, guardians or candidates.


It is now my pleasure to declare the 2017 KCPE examination results released and wish all candidates success in their future endeavors and at the same time wish each and every Kenyan a MERRY CHRISTMAS and a PROSPEROUS YEAR 2018