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The Ministry of Education, MoE, has released guidelines on how the 2021 form one selection and placements were done. The Guidelines detail the criteria used to place the 2020 Kenya Certificate of Primary Education (KCPE) candidates in secondary schools.



The Ministry has developed these guidelines for use in 2021 form one selection and placement and implemented from June 2021.


The objectives of the guidelines are to;

  1. Guide the Implementation of legal provisions and policies on selection and placement of 2020 KCPE candidates to public secondary schools.
  2. Ensure a harmonized selection and placement process for all categories of schools; National, Extra-County, County, Sub-County, Special Needs schools.
  3. Inform education officials, principals and the public on form one selection and placement process.


Public secondary schools are categorized as shown below for purposes of form one selection and placement.

National Schools

These are boarding schools whose catchment is 100% national for purposes of fostering national unity and social cohesion.

National schools are grouped into four (4) clusters and named accordingly as cluster 1, cluster 2, cluster 3 and cluster 4. Candidates (2020 KCPE cohort) were expected to choose one school from each cluster in this category in order of preference.

Extra-County Schools

These are boarding schools that complement national schools in fostering national unity and social cohesion. Their catchment is the host county and other counties nationally.

The schools are clustered into three (3) and each candidate was expected to choose one school from each cluster. One of the choices should be a school outside the host county.

County schools

These are boarding secondary schools in the county other than national and extra-county schools. Their catchment is the host county and each candidate was required to choose two (2)schools in this category.

Sub-County schools

These are day schools. Candidates were required to choose two (2) sub-county schools within commutable distance from their parents/guardians’ areas of residence.

Special Needs Education (SNE) Secondary Schools

These are special or integrated boarding schools that cater for students with special education needs and disabilities.

Their catchment is mostly national.Candidates were required to choose special or integrated schools which cater for their respective special needs.

In total, each candidate was required to choose eleven(11) secondary schools as shown in the table below;

S/N School Category Number of Choices
1 National Schools 4
2 Extra County Schools 3
3 County Schools 2
4 Sub County Schools 2
5 Total 11


The selection for admission into Form One will be premised on the principles of merit, equity and choice of schools as well as capacity and category of schools.

All candidates will be placed in secondary schools based on the eleven choices. However, if one misses his/her choices, they will be placed in any available vacancies based on merit and

All learners will be accorded equal opportunity to transit to secondary education. The selection and placement process will be fully computerized and restricted to candidates who sat for their KCPE examination in 2020 and will follow the steps listed and explained below:

  1. Data verification and validation
  2. Computation of quotas
  3. Actual Selection
  • Pre-select schools
  • National Schools
  • Extra County schools
  • County schools
  • Sub-County Schools
  • learners from identified slum areas
  • SNE schools
  • Day scholars in Boarding Schools

Data verification and validation

This involves receiving and compiling data on capacities for each and every public secondary school by county. This data is then analyzed and validated for use in the form one selection.

Pre-Selection for regular schools

Pre-selection will be conducted before the main selection. This will apply to seven schools namely: Starehe Boys; Starehe Girls; Moi Forces Academy Nairobi; Moi Forces Lanet, Utumishi Academy, Utumishi girls and Moi Tea Girls. Starehe schools will select 100% of their capacities while the Forces schools will select 80%.

The remaining 20% in the Forces schools will be filled by the Ministry during the main selection. Moi Tea Girls will select 40 % while the remaining 60% will be filled in the main MOE selection.

Lists of pre-selected candidates submitted to the Ministry will be captured into the Computer System to avoid double selection.

All candidates selected under this category will be assigned “Pre-select” status.

Candidates to be considered for pre-selection will be expected to have chosen the schools for consideration.

The pre-select lists will be expected to have a national outlook.

Pre-Selection for Special Needs Schools

Candidates with hearing and visual impairments will be pre-selected to special or integrated secondary schools which cater for the respective disabilities.

Computation of Quotas and selection:

In order to ensure equity in form 1 selection, available places are shared out using a formula that computes quotas for each sub county.

Computation of Quotas is applied based on sub county candidature. In 2021 the capacity for each school will be computed on the basis of 48 (forty-eight) students per stream for national, extra county and county schools while sub county schools may accommodate 50 students.

Candidates with special education needs will be considered for selection to special or integrated secondary schools depending on their choice, merit and disability/need.

Candidates with special needs who will have chosen regular schools will be given priority in the selection per category of choice.

National School selection.

The slots in national schools are shared among all sub-counties in the country with candidature ratio of public to private of 50: 50.

The following formula is applied for computation of sub-county quotas for the candidates to be admitted in a national school:

Sub-county Quota=Sub-county KCPE Candidature of a given gender/ National KCPE Candidature of given gender X Available Vacancies in the National school

When a Sub-county misses a slot due to low candidature, affirmative action will be applied.

The national schools’ selection process is as follows:

  • The top five candidates of either gender in each sub-county will be considered for placement to national schools of their choice where possible.
  • To reward merit, candidates who scored 400 marks and above will be placed in National schools of their choice where possible. Where a candidate fails to be selected into a national school, they will be considered for placement in Extra County school of their choice.
  • Candidates who score below 400 marks will be selected using quotas and cutoff marks to any of their national school choices by order of preference, where possible. The cut off mark of 280 will be used to fill the remaining vacancies in National schools while adhering to 50: 50 share for public and private schools.

 Extra-County Schools selection.

Selection of candidates to extra-county schools will be based on the ratio of 15:35:50.

Where, 15% is reserved for the host sub-county, 35% for host County and 50% for other counties other than the host county.

In addition to its 15% allocation, the host sub-county also has a share in the 35% of the county allocation.

The ratio of public to private schools will be determined by the percentage of unplaced candidates in private and public school in each sub county.

Sub-county quota in the host county in an extra-county school is based on its candidature using the following formula:

Sub-county Quota = (Sub-county Candidature of a given gender)/(Total County Candidature of same gender) X Available Vacancies in the extra-county schools

County Schools selection

Available places in county schools are shared out between sub-counties in the ratio of 20:80 where 20% of places are reserved for the host sub-county and 80% for the host county shared out equitably among all the sub-counties therein, the host sub-county inclusive.

Students are selected based on merit and choice.

Sub-County schools Selection

Selection of candidates to this category will be based on merit, choice and commutable distances from parents/guardians homes.

Affirmative action for slum areas

In order to promote equity and enhance allocation of proportionate slots for candidates from slum areas, the following interventions will be put in place;

  • National schools: the top 1 boy and 1 girl will be selected to national school of their choice from identified primary schools in the slums. This will be an additional share to the sub county where the slums are located.
  • Extra -county schools: In addition to the sub county share, the top 3 boys and 3 girls will be selected to extra county schools of their choice from the identified primary schools in the slums

SNE schools selection

Selection will be based on choice, merit and type of need/disability. KCPE candidates with hearing and visual impairment will be pre-selected to the relevant schools.

Those with physical disabilities may be placed in regular, special or integrated secondary schools.

 Day Wings in Boarding Schools selection

The Ministry of Education is encouraging the opening of day wings in existing boarding schools for the following reasons: –

  1. Expanding capacities in the already established schools and maximizing the use of available resources;
  2. Decongesting the boarding facilities
  3. Delinking admission from bed capacity;
  4. Enhancing parental responsibility in management of students’ discipline,
  5. Catering for learners with health challenges
  6. Demystifying the perception that boarders perform better than day scholars.
  7. Preparation to standardize all schools in a move to embrace exclusive day schooling in the country.

Parents will place requests in schools offering day schooling and are convenient for their children to commute. The learners admitted under this programme will meet the cost of lunch like other day schools and be integrated seamlessly into the school routine.

Handling of form one joining instructions.

Joining instructions for all schools will be available online. The letters are not transferable; hence no endorsement will validate change of addressee or student selected.


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