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Maseno School makes a comeback

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By DAVID ADUDA
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Maseno School has made a dramatic comeback to top the charts producing the second best candidate in this year’s Form Four Examinations.

Master Kaluna James was the second best candidate with a grade of 87.394 points.

One of the country’s oldest secondary schools, having been started in 1906, Maseno had five candidates among the top 100 candidates.

Besides Kaluma, the other A graders in the top were Humphrey Rasugu who was placed fifth with 87.281 points, Ochieng Joshua position 19 with 86.899 points and Gideon Kiplangat Siele, position 40 with 85.961 points and Byrone Omondi with 85.89.

Following closely from the region is Maranda High School, which made a strong showing with six candidates among the top 100.

Maranda’s top candidate was Onyando Roy Allan Ochieng, who had grade A of 87.101 points and ranked in position 10. Also excelling at Maranda were Martine Onyanga Ombaga who was placed in position 45, Otieno Eugine Mboya (50), Olela Sheldon Trevor (64), Okoyo Zaddy Trevor (71), Saidimu Lesalunga (79).

The other best performers in Nyanza region were Otieno Teddy Allan Odhiambo of St Joseph’s Rapogi of Migori County, who was ranked in position 22, Okomba Matayo Mugoma position 90, Odumbe Lucky Willis Mwabi of Orero Secondary, Homa Bay, position 84 and Okoth Philip Oluoch of Kisumu Boys High School, who was ranked 98th.

Conspicuously missing from the Nyanza region’s list were girls schools. They did not post candidates among the 100.

In the overall ranking list, Juliet Irine Otieno of Pangani Girls in Nairobi was declared the best candidate in the exams, whose results were released by Education Cabinet Secretary Amina Mohamed. Juliet scored A with 87.644 points.

This is the second time in a row that Pangani Girls topped the charts. A school recently given the national status, Pangani has been a consistently top performer. It is also one of the schools with large enrolments.

The other top performers with grade A were Edwin Otieno Ouko of Light Academy, 87.363 and Kamweru Mwangi Dancan Ian of Moi High School, Kabarak, 87.289. Also trailing the blaze with A grade were Humphrey Rasugu, also of Maseno School, 87.281, Mel Christine of Alliance Girls 87.274, Njenga Brian Ndungu of Mangu, 87.259, Osogo Monyenye Wesley of Alliance High School, 87.173; Nyakea Moraa Shalyn of Moi Girls Nairobi 87.16 and Onyando Roy Allan Ochieng of Maranda 87.101

Releasing the results at the Kenya National Examinations Council headquarters in Nairobi, Amb Mohamed reported improved performance in the exams.

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At least 315 candidates scored A in the exams, nearly doubling last year’s 142. The number of candidates who qualified for university education, obtaining grade C+ and above also grew significantly to 90,377 compared to the previous 70,073.

The rising numbers of qualifiers are giving universities a new lease of life, they will now have a slightly bigger pool to pick from. Private universities, which had been affected by reduced number of qualifiers, will have reason to smile.

Ms Mohamed reported improved performance all round in the subjects manifested in the number of subjects whose grades went up, 14 compared to 13 last year, and similarly decline in subjects done poorly, 12 against the previous 13.

Another notable indicated of efficiency in the education system is the fact most candidates who sat the exams were of the right age, between 19 and 20. In education terms, presence of many over-age or under-age candidates demonstrate inefficiency. It means many learners are repeating or some are fast-tracked even when they are not ripe for the grades they are promoted to.

Among the key highlights was Knec’s attempt to do a tracer study, compare candidates performance in Standard Eight against Form Four ostensibly to determine the value addition during the secondary school period.

On this score, five candidates were named to have made a remarkable leap, having joined Form One with very low points but went ahead to excel in KCSE and qualify for university education.

Leading this list was Josphat Kamau Mwangi from Mioro Secondary School in Murang’a County, who had obtained 278 marks in KCPE four years ago, but went ahead to obtain grade A- at KCSE. Others were Richard Kyulu who had 257 in KCPE but obtained B+, George Mburu Maingi had 279 in KCPE but got B+; James Kamau Wambui, 186 points to grade B- and Gideon Cheruiyot, 209 against grade B.

In terms of gender performance, boys continued to do better in most subjects compared to girls. Girls outperformed boys in six subjects namely English, Kiswahili, CRE, home science, art and design, and metal work.

Speaking during the release of the results, Knec chairman George Magoha reported that there were no cases of cheating this time round. However, there were irregularities where some individuals and teachers were caught attempting to cheat.

Teachers Service Commission chief executive Nancy Macharia said 61 teachers were reported to have flouted the exam rules and five of them have been interdicted.

This year, there were 660 candidates who sat the exams, out of which 338,628 were boys and 321,576 were girls. This is a slight increase over last year’s 611,952.



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Public officers above 58 years and with pre-existing conditions told to work from home: The Standard

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Head of Public Service Joseph Kinyua. [File, Standard]
In a document from Head of Public Service, Joseph Kinyua new measure have been outlined to curb the bulging spread of covid-19. Public officers with underlying health conditions and those who are over 58 years -a group that experts have classified as most vulnerable to the virus will be required to execute their duties from home.

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However, the new rule excluded personnel in the security sector and other critical and essential services.
“All State and public officers with pre-existing medical conditions and/or aged 58 years and above serving in CSG5 (job group ‘S’) and below or their equivalents should forthwith work from home,” read the document,” read the document.
To ensure that those working from home deliver, the Public Service directs that there be clear assignments and targets tasked for the period designated and a clear reporting line to monitor and review work done.
SEE ALSO: Thinking inside the cardboard box for post-lockdown work stations
Others measures outlined in the document include the provision of personal protective equipment to staff, provision of sanitizers and access to washing facilities fitted with soap and water, temperature checks for all staff and clients entering public offices regular fumigation of office premises and vehicles and minimizing of visitors except by prior appointments.
Officers who contract the virus and come back to work after quarantine or isolation period will be required to follow specific directives such as obtaining clearance from the isolation facility certified by the designated persons indicating that the public officer is free and safe from Covid-19. The officer will also be required to stay away from duty station for a period of seven days after the date of medical certification.
“The period a public officer spends in quarantine or isolation due to Covid-19, shall be treated as sick leave and shall be subject to the Provisions of the Human Resource Policy and procedures Manual for the Public Service(May,2016),” read the document.
The service has also made discrimination and stigmatization an offence and has guaranteed those affected with the virus to receive adequate access to mental health and psychosocial supported offered by the government.
The new directives targeting the Public Services come at a time when Kenyans have increasingly shown lack of strict observance of the issued guidelines even as the number of positive Covid-19 cases skyrocket to 13,771 and leaving 238 dead as of today.
SEE ALSO: Working from home could be blessing in disguise for persons with disabilities
Principal Secretaries/ Accounting Officers will be personally responsible for effective enforcement and compliance of the current guidelines and any future directives issued to mitigate the spread of Covid-19.

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Uhuru convenes summit to review rising Covid-19 cases: The Standard

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President Uhuru Kenyatta (pictured) will on Friday, July 24, meet governors following the ballooning Covid-19 infections in recent days.
The session will among other things review the efficacy of the containment measures in place and review the impact of the phased easing of the restrictions, State House said in a statement.
This story is being updated.
SEE ALSO: Sakaja resigns from Covid-19 Senate committee, in court tomorrow

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Drastic life changes affecting mental health

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Kenya has been ranked 6th among African countries with the highest cases of depression, this has triggered anxiety by the World Health Organization (WHO), with 1.9 million people suffering from a form of mental conditions such as depression, substance abuse.

KBC Radio_KICD Timetable

Globally, one in four people is affected by mental or neurological disorders at some point in their lives, this is according to the WHO.

Currently, around 450 million people suffer from such conditions, placing mental disorders among the leading causes of ill-health and disability worldwide.

The pandemic has also been known to cause significant distress, mostly affecting the state of one’s mental well-being.

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With the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic attributed to the novel Coronavirus disease, millions have been affected globally with over 14 million infections and half a million deaths as to date. This has brought about uncertainty coupled with difficult situations, including job loss and the risk of contracting the deadly virus.

In Kenya the first Coronavirus case was reported in Nairobi by the Ministry of Health on the 12th March 2020.  It was not until the government put in place precautionary measures including a curfew and lockdown (the latter having being lifted) due to an increase in the number of infections that people began feeling its effect both economically and socially.

A study by Dr. Habil Otanga,  a Lecturer at the University of Nairobi, Department of Psychology says  that such measures can in turn lead to surge in mental related illnesses including depression, feelings of confusion, anger and fear, and even substance abuse. It also brings with it a sense of boredom, loneliness, anger, isolation and frustration. In the post-quarantine/isolation period, loss of employment due to the depressed economy and the stigma around the disease are also likely to lead to mental health problems.

The Kenya National Bureau of Statistics (KNBS) states that at least 300,000 Kenyans have lost their jobs due to the Coronavirus pandemic between the period of January and March this year.

KNBC noted that the number of employed Kenyans plunged to 17.8 million as of March from 18.1 million people as compared to last year in December. The Report states that the unemployment rate in Kenya stands at 13.7 per cent as of March this year while it stood 12.4 per cent in December 2019.

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Mama T (not her real name) is among millions of Kenyans who have been affected by containment measures put in place to curb the spread of the virus, either by losing their source of income or having to work under tough guidelines put in place by the MOH.

As young mother and an event organizer, she has found it hard to explain to her children why they cannot go to school or socialize freely with their peers as before.

“Sometimes it gets difficult as they do not understand what is happening due to their age, this at times becomes hard on me as they often think I am punishing them,”

Her contract was put on hold as no event or public gatherings can take place due to the pandemic. This has brought other challenges along with it, as she has to find means of fending for her family expenditures that including rent and food.

“I often wake up in the middle of the night with worries about my next move as the pandemic does not exhibit any signs of easing up,” she says. She adds that she has been forced to sort for manual jobs to keep her family afloat.

Ms. Mary Wahome, a Counseling Psychologist and Programs Director at ‘The Reason to Hope,’ in Karen, Nairobi says that such kind of drastic life changes have an adverse effect on one’s mental status including their family members and if not addressed early can lead to depression among other issues.

“We have had cases of people indulging in substance abuse to deal with the uncertainty and stress brought about by the pandemic, this in turn leads to dependence and also domestic abuse,”

Sam Njoroge , a waiter at a local hotel in Kiambu, has found himself indulging in substance abuse due to challenges he is facing after the hotel he was working in was closed down as it has not yet met the standards required by the MOH to open.

“My day starts at 6am where I go to a local pub, here I can get a drink for as little as Sh30, It makes me suppress the frustration I feel.” he says.

Sam is among the many who have found themselves in the same predicament and resulted to substance abuse finding ways to beat strict measures put in place by the government on the sale of alcohol so as to cope.

Mary says, situations like Sam’s are dangerous and if not addressed early can lead to serious complications, including addiction and dependency, violent behavior and also early death due to health complications.

She has, however, lauded the government for encouraging mental wellness and also launching the Psychological First Aid (PFA) guide in the wake of the virus putting emphasis on the three action principal of look, listen and link. “When we follow this it will be easy to identify an individual in distress and also offer assistance”.

Mary has urged anyone feeling the weight of the virus taking a toll on them not to hesitate but look for someone to talk to.

“You should not only seek help from a specialist but also talk to a friend, let them know what you are undergoing and how you feel, this will help ease their emotional stress and also find ways of dealing with the situation they are facing,” She added

Mary continued to stress on the need to perform frequent body exercises as a form of stress relief, reading and also taking advantage of this unfortunate COVID-19 period to engage in hobbies and talent development.

“Let people take this as an opportunity to kip fit, get in touch with one’s inner self and  also engage in   reading that would  help expand their knowledge.

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