The Kenya Certificate of secondary education (KCSE) in Kiambu County is progressing on well with no reported cases of cheating or malpractices so far.
The local examination supervisors led by the Kiambu Director of Education, Ms. Victoria Mulili have been working round the clock to ensure that the exercise continues smoothly in the schools and in hospitals for those writing their papers while admitted for various ailments.
Principal Secretary in the Ministry of Education in charge of basic education Dr. Julius Jwan commended Kiambu County administration for the smooth running of the national examinations which begun mid last month.
Speaking last week during the opening of the Examination container at the Kiambu County Commissioner’s compound, he urged the examinations officials to continue being vigilant and as they enhanced their team spirit to ensure the examinations remain intact until the official time dictated by the Government.
Dr. Jwan, the Principal Secretary in charge of basic education spoke during the opening of the Examination contained urged the officials present to continue being vigilant and enhance their teamwork spirit to ensure the examinations remain as they are.
“I want to commend and thank you for the impressive work you have done so far despite some of the challenges you have faced. I urge all of you present here to do your best and continue doing what is required” Dr. Jwan said. The PS however recounted an incident in Rongo that was nipped in the bud in which there was an attempt to photograph and share an examination paper early in the week saying the Multiagency approach played their cards appropriately to avert the attempt.
“I was in Rongo, Migori County on Tuesday for the same exercise where a candidate was hospitalized which meant that the invigilator had to walk with the exam papers to the hospital and the person, he had delegated to attempted to photograph it before the person was nabbed by hawk-eyed officers who burst her in what she was doing”
The PS further urged the respective agencies present to do what is right and avoid causing confusion and anxiety to the students as they continue with their national examinations. “It is the adults who are destructing the students, otherwise the students have no problem and are prepared to write their examinations” he noted while cautioning them to shape up.
Kenya committed itself to an Innovative agenda in 2008: to be a newly industrialized country by 2030. As the key to this objective, the country has prioritized the reform of its education system.
While at Kiambu High School, the PS was able to inspect a few of the classrooms to ensure that everything was in order. He checked the desks and went a step further to open the classroom`s windows.
“These windows need to be open at all times to allow for circulation of air in and out especially now that we are battling covid-19 and ensure the utmost safety of our candidates” he added.
He watched closely as the invigilators signed and opened the examination papers for delivery to the students and asked the Media representatives to step outside and not photograph the examination papers due to safety purposes.
The Strategic Plan 2018 – 2022 of Kenya’s National Education Sector includes the lessons learned from previous educational efforts as well as a comprehensive, government-owned strategy. The plan was widely commended for moving Kenya towards a positive direction and proactively tackling challenges such as governance and accountability by development partners and civil society.
National exams, therefore, play a significant role in the education system. Unfortunately, the examination process is heavily influenced by malpractices which give an incorrect impression of results. This vice, the cabinet secretary for education Professor George Magoha has promised to completely eradicate and ensure that cheating amongst the candidates is eliminated.
Irregularities of examination have become a major concern and a few strategies are being considered for mitigating these risks, including use of law enforcement, to prevent abuse in examinations.
Vis-à-vis academic-dishonesty, KNEC imposed strict penalties for people convicted of irregularities, including the annulment of examinations and imprisonment.
The Ministry of Education has confirmed that the examination process is secure and integral. “During KCSE exams, we will work with the Ministry of Interior and National Coordination of Government to ensure that we have at least two police officers engaged in routine daily patrol” said Prof Magoha earlier.
Magoha instructed for the safety of the national examinations exercise to be secured, a situation he said cannot be taken for granted.
In addition to the transport, he also said that the administration of examinations at more than 1000 county examining centers was alarmed by the lack of suitable security officials, the scenario he called unacceptable. This anomaly was however addressed and most of the examination centers are now pooling their resources and sharing the available government transport allowed to ferry examination materials.
Like much of Africa, Kenya’s Covid-19 outbreak remains to peak each day with the number of cases reaching 139,448 and 2,224 deaths as of yesterday.
He further advised the invigilators and teachers should take the Covid- 19 vaccination so as to keep themselves safe and they should follow all the Ministry of Health (MOH) directives to ensure that the students complete the examinations. The same for the police officers.
Mr. Titus Macharia, Kiambu Deputy County Commissioner mentioned that the message concerning the vaccination should be a priority for the police officers and teachers as they were key players in the examination exercise.
The Teacher Service Commission (TSC) CEO Dr. Nancy Macharia participated in taking the Covid 19 vaccination Program on the 11th of March 2021. The program had been rolled out for teachers across the country.
After the fear of the interruption of the National Examinations by the third wave of Covid 19, the KNEC guaranteed that the KCSE Examination would proceed through the containment changes implemented by Covid 19.
The COVID-19 pandemic had laid bare how education in Kenya could evolve and the urgent need to accelerate the Kenyan government’s digital learning program renamed “digischool” that is targeted at learners in all public primary schools and aimed at integrating the use of digital technologies in learning.
The pandemic has given a chance for Education institutions to embrace online learning to enhance in-person room learning and to coach lecturers and students in digital skills within the fast-changing world of technology.
After the official opening of the examination container for the Wednesday paper which was Kiswahili paper 1 and Kiswahili paper 2 to the different schools, the PS proceeded to Kiambu High School for a routine check to witness how the examination was being dispensed.
“I am very impressed with students wearing masks and being very smart. There has been no examination leakage in Kiambu and that shows how serious you take your education. I take this opportunity to wish every candidate all the best and I assure you that the examinations will be marked fairly having in mind the gap caused by Covid-19 given they were out of school for at least eight months.” Dr. Jwan noted.
A spot check by KNA showed that students were thoroughly frisked before sitting for the Kiswahili papers, in line with regulations set by the Ministry of Health. After each student is frisked, the invigilator sanitizes before proceeding to the next candidate while observing social distance.
Dr. Jwan encouraged the students to further their education after they complete the KCSE examinations.
While addressing candidates at Kiambu high school he wished them well saying “You will all perform differently, after the results are announced, depending on what you get, you can join a university, college, or even a TVET especially now because of the Competency-Based Curriculum (CBC)” he said.
Speaking to KNA during the opening of the examinations in his school, Mr. Solomon Mwangi Kiambu High School Principal said that they have a total of 254 candidates this year.
During the parade of the candidates, the PS was keen enough to spot a student who did not have a mask on and he sent security personnel to hand over a mask to the candidate.
“Next year, the number of candidates will shoot to 350, and in 2023 the number will be 440. This is due to the 100% transition policy which we have to implement” said Mr. Mwangi.
By Lydia Shiloya and Velma Mukhwana