• The number is an increase of 18,105 more candidates than the number of candidates who scored a similar grade in the 2020 exams.
• In the 2020 examinations, 28,046 candidates attained mean grade E.
The dismal performance in the 2021 KCSE exam has raised eyebrows after the exam produced the highest number of candidates who scored grade E since 2017.
An analysis of the results released on Saturday by Education Cabinet Secretary George Magoha shows there was a mass failure in the 2021 KCSE with those who scored Grade E rising to 46,151.
The number represents an increase of 18,105 from the 2020 KCSE exams where 28,046 candidates attained a similar grade.
The number stood at 29,318 in the 2019 exams, 338 of whom were from national schools.
During the 2017 exams, there were 35,536 Es.
In the 2021 exams, more boys (26,578) than girls (19,573) scored the low grade.
In the exam, special needs schools account for 237 of the candidates; 129 boys and 108 girls.
Further, 45.87 per cent of the 826,807 candidates who sat for the 2021 examination didn't attain a grade that can allow them to pursue any professional course.
Some 379,331 candidates scored a mean grade of D (plain) and below, meaning they can't be admitted for any professional courses or be recruited to the police service, where one is required to at least have a D+.
Nonetheless, the number of candidates who attained the minimum TVET Diploma courses qualification of grade C- and above in 2021 stood at 325,896 (39.27%).
Magoha said this calls for more investment in TVET institutions where the bulk of the learners will pursue their education.
In the 2021 exams, 116,355 candidates attained a mean grade of D+ with both genders almost equal in number.
Unlike in grade E, more girls (58,506) than boys (57,849) attained grade D+.
The same pattern is replicated in grade D where more girls (73,909) than boys (72,007) attained the grade.
In the D- category, the number was almost at equilibrium but this time, more boys (93,798) than girls (93,466) attained the grade putting the total at 187,264.
The number of candidates with minimum university entry qualifications of Grade C+ and above rose to 145,145 compared to 143,140 in 2020. This represents only 17.55 per cent of the 826,807 candidates who sat the exam.
This means a massive 681,662 are left out of the higher education system, including the 379,331 candidates who scored a mean grade of D (plain) and below, who cannot enrol for a professional course.
This below-par performance may, however, be a blessing in disguise to the government’s quest to feed the labour market with technicians and craftsmen.
In the 2022-2023 budget, the government allocated TVETs and vocational training institutions Sh1.8 billion.
Treasury CS Ukur Yatani said the amount will go into the construction and equipping of more TVET institutions.
The budgetary allocation was similar to the amount that was allocated to the sector in the 2021-2022 budget.
The 325,896 candidates who qualified for TVET courses this year may, however, grow if some of those who qualified for university courses opt to pursue TVET courses.
Last year, some 15,547 candidates who scored C+ and above in the 2020 KCSE examination forewent their university vacancies for diploma and certificate courses in technical institutions.