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Marking of KCSE starts Thursday in race against time

Sunday November 24 2019

KCSE 2019

Candidates write KCSE exams at Segero Seventh Day Adventist Secondary School in Ziwa, Uasin Gishu County, on November 5, 2019. PHOTO | JARED NYATAYA | NATION MEDIA GROUP 

FAITH NYAMAI
By FAITH NYAMAI
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The marking of the Kenya Certificate of Secondary Education (KCSE) examination will start on Thursday this week.

Candidates will sit for their last computer paper on Wednesday, November 27. Some finished their exams last Wednesday while others finished on Thursday and left their schools.

This year, 699,745 candidates sat for the KCSE.

The exams started on October 21 with practical papers, while written papers began on November 4.

ATTEMPTED CHEATING

Already, chief examiners started reporting in Nairobi on Thursday to lay the ground for the grading. Others are expected to start reporting from Monday.

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The exams will be marked in about 20 marking centres in Nairobi.

Some 26,997 examiners are expected to mark this year’s exams.

Education Cabinet Secretary George Magoha said the examination results will be released before Christmas to allow students to start preparing for life in college and university as they shape their career path.

Last year, KCSE results were released on December 21.

Unlike last year, when the exams were marred by an increased number of teenage pregnancies, this year’s had fewer such cases reported.

However, during the exams, the police arrested several people for attempted cheating while examination papers were suspected to have been leaked despite strict measures to curb malpractices.

Twenty-six people and 35 mobile phones were seized from private candidates at the St Teresa Primary exam centre in Eastleigh, Nairobi.

IMPERSONATION

Police arrested 11 people in Kisii for allegedly impersonating candidates while some candidates were arrested in Garissa at a private examination centre for accessing examination materials before time.

In Nakuru, Eastmore Girls High School was found to have done a chemistry practical paper in their mock exams similar to this year’s KCSE paper, raising concerns.

The chemistry practical paper also sparked controversy because it required the use of xylene, which teachers claimed was dangerous.

The Kenya Union of Post Primary Teachers and Kenya National Union of Teachers criticised the Kenya National Examinations Council (Knec) for exposing candidates and teachers to the chemical.

Xylene is said to produce dangerous fumes, which when inhaled cause breathing problems and death in the long run.

DEFENCE

But Prof Magoha and PS Belio Kipsang defended the use of the chemical, saying it was safe.

The chemicals used during the exams included xylene, calcium hypochloride and bromine water.

The ministry involved government officials in the exercise.

Knec chief executive Mercy Karago said 70,790 personnel administered the exams.

This year, it is expected the number of exam cancellations will go down.

PLACEMENT

Last year, 3,437 did not receive their results after their exams were cancelled due to cheating at 44 centres across 16 counties compared with 1,205 candidates in 2017.

After the results are released, the Kenya Universities and Colleges Central Placement Service is expected to start selecting candidates for university immediately.

Since 2016, all students who scored C+ and above get the opportunity to join both public and private universities under the government sponsorship programme.

Last year, 89,486 students scored C+ and above.