An MP and a former teachers’ union boss have faulted the government’s move to withhold the KCSE results of some schools in North Eastern, saying youths will turn to proscribed groups.
The move is insensitive, Fafi legislator Abdikarim Osman and Mohamed Atosh, the former Garissa secretary-general of the Kenya National Union of Teachers (Knut), told reporters at a Nairobi hotel on Sunday.
While releasing the results of the Kenya Certificate of Secondary Education exams on December 21, Education Cabinet Secretary Amina Mohamed said some were withheld pending investigations into allegations of irregularities.
Though Ms Mohamed did not give the names of the schools, Mr Osman and Mr Atosh noted that at least 54 from Mandera, Wajir and Garissa were affected.
Mr Osman said they include Ikhlas, Al azhar, Dertu Girls', Young Muslim, Garissa Private, Sankuri, Hajji Girls', Hulugho Girls', Hulugho Boys', Huda, Busra High and Nanighi.
Three of them - Nanighi, Busra and Huda, which have about 256 students are in Fafi Sub-county.
The MP said, “This move is dangerous to the government, the local community as well as the international community because it provides fertile ground for illegal groups to recruit the youths as they don’t feel they are getting what is required from their own government."
Somalia-based terror group Al-Shabaab is among many that have been recruiting members from the Eastern Africa region, in countries including Kenya, Uganda, Somalia, Ethiopia and Tanzania.
The CS said the Kenya National Examinations Council (Knec) will release a report on the probe on or before January 31, 2019.
“I wish to assure the nation, affected candidates and parents that due diligence will be undertaken to ensure nobody is penalised unfairly,” Ms Mohamed said.
Mr Atosh, however, termed the step "unnecessary torture" as the students will likely miss Form One slots.
The first group of Form One students is expected to report during the second week of January, meaning those who will be cleared will have until mid-February to join them.
Mr Atosh said, "Withholding the results is more than painful to students who went without teachers for months after non-local teachers relocated over insecurity," he said.
Unlike in the past when Knec had the sweeping powers to cancel or withhold KCPE and KCSE results, the passing into law of the Knec Amendment Act in 2015 established an appeals tribunal to review decisions in the administration of national exams.
The law created the offence against the member, officer, agent or staff of the council whose omission or commission leads to an examination irregularity and therefore cancellation or withholding of results.
It specifies that the offence shall attract a penalty of a term not exceeding five years in jail, a fine of Sh5 million fine, or both.
The Teachers Service Commission has interdicted five tutors while 57 are being investigated for involvement in exam malpractices.
In 2017, the results of 1,205 candidates were cancelled over malpractices reported in at least 64 examination centres countrywide.