Candidates who fail to get their national examinations results will get a chance to challenge the Kenya National Examination Council’s (Knec) decision at a special tribunal, if a Bill before the Senate becomes law.
The proposed law seeks to give a lifeline to thousands of candidates who fail to receive their results over examination irregularities.
In the recently released 2015 KCPE results, 2,709 candidates failed to receive their results after Knec said they were involved in cheating during the exams.
The council has often cancelled or temporary withheld results if it feels that those who sat the tests committed irregularities.
The highest number of candidates to have failed to get their results was in 2011, when about 8,000 KCPE candidates were affected.
Secondary school candidates have not been spared either. In 2014, about 3,000 students did not get their Kenya Certificate of Secondary Education (KCSE) examinations results because of suspected cheating.
However, with the new Knec (amendment) Bill sponsored by Kisii Senator Chris Obure, the cancellation of results would not be the end of the road for the affected candidates as they would be able to challenge the decision at the National Examinations Appeals Tribunal.
“The Kenya National Examinations Council under section 10(2) (e) of the Kenya National Examinations Council Act Cap 225 is mandated to, among other things, withhold, nullify or cancel the results of candidates involved in irregularities or malpractices.
“This is an important function of the Council as it ensures that results are a true reflection of each candidate’s academic ability. There is need, however, to ensure that this power is not exercised arbitrarily to the detriment of students and their future,” says the Bill, which has gone through the First Reading in the Senate.
POWER TO SUMMON
Parents or guardians of the affected children would be required to lodge their appeals within 14 days after the examinations are released.
The tribunal will consist of a chairman, who will be picked by the Judicial Service Commission and must be an advocate of the High Court of Kenya with at least 15 years’ experience.
Headteachers will also appoint one person, the same as the teachers' unions. One person will also be nominated by the Technical and Vocational Education and Training Authority.
The tribunal, which will sit part-time to only hear the appeals, will have the power to summon anyone it deems might be of assistance before making the final decision on each case.
“The Tribunal shall consider all appeals made against a decision of the Council to withhold, nullify or cancel examinations prepared and administered by the Council,” says the Bill.
Mr Obure on Sunday said the fate of many children was being singularly determined by Knec without giving them a chance to challenge the decision through an independent body.
“The effect of cancelled or withheld children results on affected candidates and their families can be tragic and devastating and could mean a lifetime condemnation. For the families, the decision brings a sense of despair and hopelessness,” said the senator.
In the Senate, members have been pushing for the setting up of a body to independently check the cancelled results and make a final decision instead of the exanimations council.