Security teams and examination managers in Rift Valley have several schools on their radar over past examination malpractices to ensure similar mistakes are not repeated.
While the examination managers have been asked to be vigilant in all examination centres, a few of them will be watched more keenly due to previous records of misconducts.
Rift Valley Regional Coordinator Maalim Mohammed told a media briefing on exam preparedness that they would use intelligence availed to them that shows some people may be planning to tamper with the examination process.
He said that guidelines had been given to all centre managers on how the examinations should be managed and therefore there would be no excuse for any mismanagement.
The RC noted that security has been heightened in the Rift Valley Region ahead of Kenya Certificate of Primary Education Examination (KCPE), which kicks off on November 28.
Maalim said various state agencies including National Government Administration Agency (NGAO), National Police Service (NPS), Teachers Service Commission (TSC) in Rift Valley were ready for the exercise to be administered by the Kenya National Examination Council (KNEC).
Mr Maalim said armed security officers will be deployed in all areas where test materials will be stored, administered and when on transit.
“Good management of national examinations will depend on the integrity of the personnel involved in security, supervision and invigilation since they are in direct contact with the candidates. Every examination centre will be manned by at least two armed officers,” he stated.
A total 351,751 Grade Six pupils and 353,636 Standard 8 candidates will sit for their final Kenya Primary School Education Assessment (KPSEA) and KCPE examinations respectively in 8,343 centres across the rift valley region. An additional 153 KCPE candidates will write their exams from borstal institutions with 303 others sitting as private candidates.
Overall 244, 951 candidates will sit Kenya Certificate of Secondary Education (KCSE) in the region, with 23 more registered in borstal institutions and a further 1,032 sitting as private candidates.
He announced that 18 KCPE candidates and 14 KPSEA Grade six pupils from Arabal Primary school and 36 KCPE candidates from Kapindasum Primary School in Baringo County had been relocated to Chimoriongon Primary School after bandits vandalized facilities at the institutions.
“Unknown criminals sneaked into Arabal and Kapindasum Primary Schools where they burnt desks, pupils’ exercise books and textbooks. This is an act of sabotage by criminal elements who want outdated cultures to persist. We will not allow that to happen,” warned the Regional Commissioner.
Prior to the media briefing, Maalim held a meeting with County Commissioners, police commanders and education officials from the 14 devolved units in the region to review preparations ahead of the examination.
Mr Maalim said enough officers had been deployed to schools in Baringo and Elgeyo Marakwet that have previously been affected by banditry and armed conflicts adding that the state was in the process of vetting and recruiting National Police Reservists (NPR) to bolster security in restive parts of the region.
Maalim warned “strangers” against setting their foot in or near examination centre.
“Our working definition of a stranger is anybody who is not a candidate, centre manager, supervisor, security officer or an education officer. Let us act firmly in the interest of our children, anyone who breaches any aspect of examination will be apprehended,” he explained.
The administrator added, “I want to wish them well and they will do well. However, I also wish to appeal to parents to accept the results that their children will attain and help them chart their future within their capabilities. Let us accept the diversity of our children,” he stressed.
He assured residents that the government was committed to ensuring that all the schools that were closed in restive parts of region due to insecurity are reopened next year.
The Regional Commissioner disclosed that the 14 county and sub county security teams had put in place adequate measures to ensure the examination papers were properly guarded before, during and even after the candidates had done the same.
He underscored the need for the education officers, particularly the principals who will act as examination centre managers, to ensure the forthcoming examinations were managed in strict adherence to regulations spelled out by the examination body.
“We urge principals, head teachers, invigilators and supervisors in charge to ensure the KCSE and KCPE exams are free of any malpractices such as cheating,” he said.
“We will not take any chances in this critical time for our children .We wish to assure the parents, teachers and students in the affected areas that their safety is guaranteed,” said Maalim.
Examination materials will be kept in 135 containers set up in the sub-counties under the management of sub-county commissioners and sub- county education officers.
“Our concern is heavy rains that have increased and with the bad roads in rural areas, we expect some challenges. We have mapped out all areas and we are working closely with sub-county education officers who are on the ground to ensure the success of the examination,” he said.
He added that motorbikes assigned to local administrators and helicopters would be on standby to deliver papers and personnel to areas inaccessible by four wheel vehicles.
By Jane Ngugi and Dennis Rasto