Students who were at risk of missing the Kenya Certificate of Primary Education examinations that start on Tuesday after their schools failed to register them have earned a huge reprieve.
Education minister Mutula Kilonzo on Sunday directed the Kenya National Examinations Council to ensure that the students sit the final primary school exams. (Editorial: Mutula’s directive on exams highly welcome)
“I have asked all the officials to intervene if the candidates were ready to sit the exam to ensure that they are not penalised for errors done by the schools,” Mr Kilonzo said.
Knec secretary Paul Wasanga asked the affected candidates to present themselves at the schools on Monday during the rehearsals which will be conducted in 22,783 schools countrywide.
“We are liaising with county education official to ensure that by tomorrow (Moday) the candidates will have been recorded and accounted for in the schools during rehearsals,” Mr Wasanga said.
“After the audit, we will provide them with the exam,” he added.
This will be a huge relief to candidates of a private school in Mt Elgon constituency, alongside others, who were not registered to sit the exam by their headteachers.
Mr Wasanga also noted that some schools were double-registering candidates under different names to ensure they secured places in national schools.
The official explained that cases where some candidates had been registered in top schools in Nairobi, and at the same time in the rural areas had emerged.
“The idea here is for the candidates to learn in the top schools in Nairobi but sit the KCPE exam in the rural schools where performance is not as competitive as the schools in Nairobi,” Mr Wasanga said.
This, he noted, boosted the chances of the candidates securing places in the national schools that emphasised on affirmative action for candidates from the marginalised and rural areas.
“It is not possible for Knec to quickly identify such malpractices without the coordination of the entire school community,” he said, while urging headteachers and regional education officials to report such cases immediately.
The Council has also made plans for candidates from schools that were affected in the Tana Delta clashes to sit the exams in other schools nearby.
The primary schools that had been affected by the clashes include Riketa, Ozi, Shirikisho, Chamwanamuma, Semicaro, Kikomo, Nduru, Hadaraku, Kipao and Galili.
About 250 candidates from these schools who had been displaced are expected to sit the exam in other centres.
On Monday, the 820,255 candidates will conduct rehearsals before embarking on the three-day test that ends on Thursday.
The candidates will be examined on five papers, English, Kiswahili, Mathematics, Science and Social Studies and Religious Education.
The results will be announced on January 25 next year. This is because the KCPE exam this year was delayed following a three-week disruption in the school calendar by a countrywide teachers’ strike.
The strike forced the extension of term dates.
The candidates will write the exams under a new law that will see exam cheats spend up to 10 years in prison or be fined up to Sh2 million.
In Kisumu, county director of education Beatrice Adu said plans for the exams were ready.
“We are sure that the examinations will start at the stipulated time as plans to transport the required materials are set,” said Ms Adu.
Kisumu Police boss Musa Kongoli said security measures had also been finalised.
Additional reporting by Moses Odhiambo