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Nightmare of marking KCPE exams

Wednesday November 20 2019

KCPE candidates at Temple Road Primary School

KCPE candidates at Temple Road Primary School in Nyeri County in a jubilant mood moments after finishing their examinations on October 31, 2019. PHOTO | JOSEPH KANYI | NATION MEDIA GROUP 

OUMA WANZALA
By OUMA WANZALA
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Some of the teachers who marked this year’s KCPE scripts have shared the tough experiences they went through during the exercise.

At the end of the five-day exercise on Friday, three teachers had died as some could not withstand the tough conditions they were working in to beat the deadline.

PRESSURE

While being invited for the exercise, the 5,795 examiners who marked two million scripts expected to do it in nine days as per the letters of appointment, only for them to mark within five days.

They arrived in Nairobi on October 8. The following day, they sat an examination, where they were required to write Kiswahili insha and English composition, according to their respective subjects.

“By subjecting them to do the exams, we wanted to prepare them for the marking,” said an examiner who asked not to be named since he is not authorised to speak for the examination council.

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Three teachers who spoke to the Nation admitted that the experience in close to 20 marking centres was tough, with a lot of pressure from supervisors.

“We used to wake up at 5am so that you are ready for the exercise by 6.30am and end by 10pm,” said a teacher who asked not to be named.

In the marking room, no one was allowed to carry a mobile phone. They were only allowed to use them during breaks.

MISTAKE

One could mark up to 100 scripts. Once a script has been marked, it is handed over to a coordinator, who also goes through it then hands it over to an assistant chief examiner.

Once the assistant chief examiner is done with the scripts, they are submitted to the Kenya National Examinations Council (Knec) officials.

“It was a marathon exercise. Any slight mistake could land you in trouble since security officers were all over,” added another teacher.

Under the marking guidelines, examiners were not allowed to carry away answer scripts, marking schemes or any materials from the centre.

“All marking must be done in the specified rooms at the marking centre. Any examiner found contravening this regulation will be dismissed instantly and a report made to his or her employer for disciplinary action,” reads Knec regulations.

MANUALLY

Examiners were also not allowed to carry electronic gadgets such as laptops and tablets to the marking centres. The marking is usually done in secondary schools and examiners sleep in dormitories.

Knec acting CEO Mercy Karogo said all objective papers were machine-marked while composition and insha were marked manually.

“During the exercise, three teachers passed on — Ms Mary Litunya, Ms Gladys Musyoka and Robert Muindi,” said Dr Karogo.