The Kenya National Examinations Council has issued tough guidelines on managing national tests set to start in November, as it moves to eliminate malpractices.
In the guidelines to field officers, county directors of education and centre managers — who are undergoing one-week training across the country — and only qualified teachers will be allowed to manage the exams.
In a directive that comes two months to the start of the tests, Knec acting chief executive officer Mercy Karogo cautioned against the recruitment of supervisors and invigilators with questionable qualifications.
“Knec still gets unqualified personnel supervising and invigilating at some examination centres,” Ms Karogo said in a brief to officers.
The training, which is going on in all sub-counties in the country, started on Monday and ends on Friday.
Ms Karogo has also directed Teachers Service Commission sub-county directors to identify teachers of high integrity to supervise and invigilate the exams.
“Supervisors and invigilators must not be allowed to administer examinations in any institution for more than two consecutive years,” Ms Karogo said, adding that the officers should not be posted to schools adjacent to where they teach.
She said timetables for the exams had been prepared and uploaded on the Knec website.
“It is expected that all stakeholders in this very important national exercise will uphold high levels of integrity,” Ms Karogo said.
Last year, there were no cases of malpractices in the Kenya Certificate of Primary Education (KCPE) and Kenya Certificate of Secondary Education (KCSE) exams.
Among the challenges that have so far been identified by the council are non-adherence to the registration deadline.
This prompts some schools to request registration as late as August 15.
The registration of candidates for the exams took place between January 16 and March 17.
“There was also poor verification of candidates’ registration details, leading to wrong entries in terms of gender, subject choices, spelling of names, and school choices for KCPE candidates,” Ms Karogo said.
Schools are set to reopen for third term on August 28 and close on October 29.
During the term, no non-academic activities will be allowed in schools.
There will also be no prayer sessions during the term, a move aimed at avoiding unnecessary contact between candidates and outsiders during the exam period.
A total of 1,003,556 candidates registered for the KCPE exam while 615,773 registered to sit the KCSE test.
There will be 28,566 exam centres for KCPE candidates and 9,350 for KCSE candidates.
A total of 6,037 KCPE and 7,001 KCSE private candidates also registered this year.
The KCPE exam will run from October 1 to November 2, while the KCSE one will start on November 4
This year, deputy principals have been engaged in managing the exams.
While issuing guidelines on the exams last month, Education Cabinet Secretary Fred Matiang’i said only candidates should be in schools during the exams.
“Deputy head teachers will remain in school to assist head teachers, who will act as centre managers,” Dr Matiang’i said.