A revised exam timetable has been released, showing that Form Four candidates will start with optional subjects such as Biology practical, French, Building and construction, Electricity and Music.
According to the new Kenya National Examinations Council timetable, English and Mathematics, which traditionally are among the first to be sat have this year been pushed to the second week.
In the past, some practical papers like Home Science started in September, but the main theory and compulsory papers of the Kenya Certificate of Secondary Education (KCSE) came after the Mashujaa Day on October 21.
This year, English Paper One, the composition writing paper, has been scheduled for November 05, a week after the exam begins.
Candidates sit Maths, English and Kiswahili as compulsory subjects. They are also required to sit at least two sciences picked from Physics, Chemistry and Biology.
Some 437,782 candidates will sit KCSE this year. Nearly double the number, 820,255 Standard Eight pupils will sit the Kenya Certificate of Primary Education (KCPE).
According to the timetable, KCPE starts on December 4 instead of between November 13 and 15. Candidates will begin with Maths and English then finish with Social Studies on December 6.
Secondary school exams should have started in September with oral and practical papers, but the Education ministry pushed them to October 15 to recover three weeks lost following a teachers’ strike. (READ: New term dates to set off a series of delays)
The strike, to pressure the government into increasing teachers’ salaries, threw into disarray teaching and learning programmes in schools, also forcing the extension of term dates.
The changes also mean KCPE results will be announced on January 25 while those of the KCSE will be out three months later, on April 16. Traditionally, KCPE results are announced on December 28 and KCSE around February 28.
Education minister Mutula Kilonzo has also re-arranged term dates for schools, with the current term extended by three weeks to end on November 23.
But parents and private schools have opposed the minister’s move to rule that schools are to open on February 4, instead of January 3 as has been the tradition, and end on May 17. (READ: Private schools reject revised term dates)
Second term will run from June 3 to September 6, while the final term will start on September 30 and end on November 29.
The timetable also contains tough rules meant to prevent cheating, with Knec secretary Paul Wasanga saying candidates will be not allowed out of the exam room until the period of each paper is over or with the express authority of the supervisor.
A supervisor is the head of any examination centre and is in charge of a group of invigilators assigned to take care of each stream.
“Do not leave a sheet of paper you have written on or your answers in such a position that another candidate can read them,” Mr Wasanga warned.
The upcoming exams could be conducted under a stricter legal regime as Parliament is about to pass new laws spelling out tough punishment for cheats.
According to the Kenya National Examinations Council Bill 2012, exam cheats could spend up to 10 years in prison or be fined up to Sh2 million.
The Bill also proposes among other issues a five- year jail term for those who collude and facilitate the leaking of exam.