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Thousands left without a class;Briefing;International

Kenya. Nearly a quarter of a million pupils in Kenya will not be able to go to secondary school this year as the country's 3,000 schools can only cater for 44.4 per cent of pupils who took the Kenya Certificate of Primary Education.

As places are so limited William Kimalat, permanent secretary at the ministry of education, has directed teachers to admit pupils on merit and not on tribal lines.

But a almost a third of the lucky pupils who have been able to get a secondary education are dropping out, mainly because of the high fees. Ministry sources estimate that this year 10,000 children selected for secondary school may not be able to enrol in February because they cannot afford it.

Measures to lower the drop-out rate include instructing the heads of girls' schools to stop expelling the 10,000 pupils a year who become pregnant, and plans to extend successful primary-school food programmes to secondary schools catering for nomadic tribes.

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