The government has beefed up security in the North Rift region to secure a conducive environment for candidates sitting for national examinations scheduled to commence early next month.
Rift Valley Regional Commissioner Maalim Mohammed said security was beefed in Baringo, West Pokot, Elgeyo Marakwet, Turkana and Laikipia counties where sporadic cases of banditry attacks were reported to ensure that candidates sat for their papers peacefully without hitches.
He said some candidates in worst affected areas were relocated to safer examination centres but was quick to caution politicians not to disrupt the schedule of the national examinations with their campaigns to give the candidates room to write their paper.
Maalim said although the Kenya National Examination Council (KNEC) regulations had abolished and merged examination centers with less than 30 candidates registered for both the KCPE and KCSE examinations such a rule will not be applicable in the region for security reasons.
Speaking after holding a meeting with Rift Valley Regional Intelligence committee members, County Commissioners and education officials from the 14 devolved units in the region to review preparations ahead of the examination Mr Maalim however regretted that several schools including St Mary’s Cheptulele Girls, Cheptulel Boys, Cheptulel Primary School, Cheratak Primary Seramach Primary School in West Pokot County were closed for security reasons.
“We will ensure all candidates in the five affected schools write their examinations. Some of the schools have been reopened, while candidates in learning institutions that are yet to reopen have been relocated to other centres. We will also do tracing of any missing candidates to ensure that all eligible learners are administered their national examination,” he added
Overall 340,304 candidates will sit Kenya Certificate of Primary Education (KCPE) in the region including 171,651 boys and 168,669. Out of the figure a total of 292,414 candidates are drawn from public schools while 47,890 are registered in private facilities.
“As the electioneering fever gains momentum across the country, we appeal to aspirants eyeing various elective seats to desist from holding rallies or mounting public address systems in or near our schools in order to give candidates deserved ample time,” Maalim said warning those found flouting the directive that they will be dealt with accordingly.
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.
“We have deployed enough security personnel that will man all Kenya Certificate of Secondary Education (KCSE) and Kenya Certificate of Primary Education (KCPE) exam containers and centres in the county,” he assured
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,”
Maalim also indicated that all the examinations centres in the region would be provided with adequate security personnel throughout the examination period.
“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 Mr Maalim
In Elgeyo Marakwet candidates from Changach Barrack Secondary School have been relocated to Kiptolos Secondary School 14 kilometres away. In Baringo County, Kapturo and Chepksin Primary School candidates will sit their examinations at Taboroi Primary school.
Other examination centers that have been moved include Kapkechir Primary School to Karne Primary School, Kasiela Primary school to Sinoni Primary School, Arabal Primary School and Kapindasum to Chemongorin Primary School while Tuyotich Primary school and Tuyotich secondary school candidates will sit their examination at Kabel Primary School.
In Laikipia County the administrator noted that Tumaini and Merigwiti Primary schools which had been destroyed in banditry attacks last year had reopened with additional new classrooms following their restoration by Kenya Defense Forces.
“All the relocated candidates will be provided with boarding facilities and meals that will be catered for by the government. County Commissioners in affected regions will liaise with school heads to ensure relocated candidates write their exams in a conducive set up,” Maalim stated
He stated that a total of 208,935 candidates from public schools and an additional 16,017 from private institutions in the region will sit for their Kenya Certificate of Secondary Education (KCSE) which kicks off on March 14
Overall 224,852 students, including 113,160 boys and 111,692 girls have been registered for their Kenya Certificate of Secondary Education (KCSE) in the region.
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.
He assured candidates that enough transportation arrangements had been put in place to ensure examination papers, invigilators, supervisors and security personnel reach all centers.
“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 choppers would be on standby to deliver papers and personnel to areas inaccessible by four wheel vehicles
By Anne Mwale and Bernard Kiptoo