Primary school children from areas hit by violence during last week’s repeat presidential election were yesterday gearing up for the national exams that start this morning.
The Nation found the children rehearsing for the Kenya Certificate of Primary Education (KCPE) examination, hoping for improved performance in the examinations that end on Thursday.
At Pandpieri Primary School in Kisumu County, headteacher Veronica Otieno said the 121 pupils were ready for the exams.
“Due to our location next to Nyalenda slums, we have had to contend with a lot of challenges since the region has experienced confrontations with police in the run-up to the October 26 presidential polls,” she said.
Mr Peter Okello, the headteacher at Hekima Primary School, which has 16 candidates, said: We have taken our students through a thorough revision exercise and we hope to improve on the 341 mean score we attained last year.”
Kenya National Union of Teachers (Knut) Kisumu executive secretary Joshua Ogallo called on the government to increase security patrols around schools to ensure the smooth administration of the exams.
Kakamega County Director of Education Fred Kiiru said a total of 46,594 candidates — 22,150 boys and 24,443 girls— will sit the exams.
“We have finalised all the logistics including transportation of exam materials to respective centres and ensuring adequate security,” he said.
Jackeline Walumbe, the public relations manager at Bridge International, said most of the candidates will sit the examination in public schools.
“We have about 3,628 candidates across the country, with 85 in Busia. We expect to perform well this year, since recording a positive trajectory in the past two years,” she said.
In Kisii, 30,618 standard eight candidates will sit the test in 918 centres spread across nine sub-counties according to the county education director William Sugut.
In Mount Kenya, examiners asked the government to ferry examination materials by air because most of the roads had been rendered impassable by heavy rainfall. Education director Margaret Mwirigi said they had procured several four-wheel drive vehicles to help in the exercise.
Tharaka Nithi county commissioner Florence Amoit sought to assure the candidates and teachers that security forces would provide adequate security as the Mandera education boss Abdihamid Maalim said the county’s 5,232 candidates were all ready for the test.
In Meru, 32 inmates from Meru GK main prison participated in yesterday’s rehearsal that was conducted countywide.
Nyandarua education chief Abbakar Hassan said: “We have already sent supervisors and security men to all examination centres. We do not anticipate any challenges since we are fully prepared.”
In Nakuru, 44 inmates from Naivasha Maximum Security Prison will be among thousands of candidates and among them is 65-year-old Stephen Muria Mwangi who will be writing the test for the first time sharing the examination hall with the youngest candidate at the institution — 19-year-old Harrison Kipyego Bungei.
At the Nakuru prison, five women and eight men inmates will sit the examination, according to the head of the institution James Sawe.
The Kenya Defence Forces will provide extra security to officers manning the exams in some schools in Wajir South constituency, which lies on the Kenya-Somalia border. Deputy County commissioner Felix Kisalu said the KDF officers will join police in protecting the candidates, teachers and examiners in Wajir Bor area to Gherille in Wajir South.
Reporting by Bruhan Makong, Winnie Atieno, Charles Wanyoro, Isabel Githae, Alex Njeru, Victor Raballa, Derick Luvega, Benson Amadala, Magati Obebo, and Gaitano Pessa