All learners countrywide will from next year be assigned unique personal numbers to track their academic progress, President Uhuru Kenyatta has said.
“The Kenya National Examinations Council (Knec) should cease the use of index numbers and instead ensure all registered examination candidates have unique personal identifiers (UPIs) in student registration numbers (SRNs),” said President Kenyatta on the day Education Cabinet Secretary Fred Matiang’i released the results of this year’s Form Four examinations.
The President said the learners would use the personal identification number throughout their school life. He gave the directive after receiving a comprehensive report on the 2016 Kenya Certificate of Secondary Education (KCSE) examination from the Ministry of Education and Knec officials before the results were released at Shimo La Tewa High School in Mombasa.
Dr Matiang’i said the use of personal numbers would help to manage data in the education sector.
The ministry has found it hard to verify the exact number of students in schools, with different agencies providing conflicting figures.
Some school heads have also been accused of conspiring to steal government resources by presenting inflated figures to secure more funding, since capitation is based on the number of learners in schools.
This year, the Education ministry launched investigations into allegations that some schools were inflating enrolment figures to unduly benefit from the free education allocations.
Auditor-General Edward Ouko’s report on the ministry’s financial statements for the 2013/2014 financial year says the government had lost millions of shillings in capitation funds in public schools through inflated enrolment figures.
INFLATED ENROLMENT NUMBERS
Nairobi, Kiambu, Kajiado and Machakos were identified among counties that had inflated enrolment numbers.
Nationally, enrolment in secondary schools rose from 1.9 million in 2012 to 2.3 million this year, while in primary schools, it went up from 9.8 million to 10.2 million over the same period.
This financial year, Sh32.9 billion has been set aside to cater for students in secondary schools, while Sh14 billion will support pupils in public primary schools.
The government provides Sh1,420 per pupil in a public primary school every year, while a student in a public secondary school gets Sh12,870.
The 2014 Basic Education Statistical Booklet report returned a glaring mismatch of figures sent to the Ministry of Education against actual numbers based on a census.
On Thursday, Dr Matiang’i said the government was committed to paying examination fees for candidates sitting the Kenya Certificate of Primary Education (KCPE) and KCSE examinations in schools that receive its funding.
REGISTERING 'GHOST' CANDIDATES
“The government has now extended this facility to all candidates who will be sitting examinations in private schools,” he said.
Dr Matiang’i warned schools against registering “ghost” candidates with the intention of inflating the number of candidates to the levels that Knec requires of an examination centre.
He also announced that preparations for the 2017 national examinations calendar had started in earnest.
“We have learnt many lessons from the first year of implementing the new tough exam reforms. We plan to build on the successes we made and address the challenges learnt to ensure that we do better next year,” said Dr Matiang’i.
He said the ministry had already released the guidelines for the 2017 academic calendar, which would be strictly enforced.
“We have still provided for an examination season, a period when schools will be closed to allow us to concentrate on exam administration. This worked well for us and we hope we can do better next year,” he said.