Teachers Service Commission (TSC) on Monday assured parents, students and other education stakeholders that adequate plans have been put in place by a multi-agency team to ensure that examinations run smoothly.
TSC Secretary Dr Nancy Macharia further said that the normal school calendar will resume in January 2023 when the crash programme announced by the Ministry of Education in 2020 to recover time lost to the Covid-19 outbreak comes to an end.
Speaking in Nakuru when she supervised the launch of distribution of KCSE theory examination papers, Macharia urged all stakeholders to strive to ensure an irregularity free examination period.
Also present when centre managers and security personnel converged at the County Commissioner’s office where the container with examination papers was opened were Treasury and Planning Chief Administrative Secretary Mr Eric Wafukho and County Commissioner Erastus Mbui Mwenda.
While stating that TSC had deployed 70,486 teachers countrywide to take up roles of center managers, supervisors, invigilators and examiners, Dr Macharia called on all stakeholders to focus on delivering credible examinations, and not use the exam period to settle any scores or as a ‘yardstick’ to achieve other goals.
The KCSE candidates concluded project exams that have been ongoing since July 2021, in January 2022. They are Art and design, Agriculture, Woodwork, Metalwork, Building construction and Computer Studies. Theory tests that began on Monday, March 14, will end on Friday, April 1, 2022.
Macharia affirmed that the Commission was confident that it will remain on the right trajectory to finding the winning formula that will ensure learning institutions are safe for learners and teachers as the normal school calendar is restored.
Starting from January 4, 2021, the first and second terms were shortened from 14 to 11 weeks and holidays from four to one week, including a 10-day Christmas break.
Most learners had been out of school since March 2020 when the country reported its first case of Covid-19, triggering an indefinite closure of learning institutions to curb the spread of the virus.
A total of 831,015 students will sit for their KCSE exam in 10,413 centres across the country, compared to the 752,981 students in 10,437 centres who sat the exam in 2020.
The TSC boss noted that guidelines and directives from the Ministry of Education, provided that strictly only Deputy County Commissioners (DCCs) and Assistant County Commissioners (ACCs) be involved in the daily opening and closing of the examination containers in their respective jurisdictions.
She sought to allay fears of leakage, saying that all examination materials are safe and no candidate will have unfair advantage over the rest during the test.
“It is the duty of security personnel, centre managers (school principals), supervisors and invigilators to ensure that malpractices do not interfere with the credibility of the exams. Unless situations dictate, examinations must be transported using government vehicles in the presence of at least one police officer,” said Macharia.
Wafukho indicated the government was constructing 541 classrooms in Nakuru County ahead of transition of learners from primary to junior secondary schools in compliance with the ongoing roll out of Competence Based Curriculum at a cost of Sh 426.3 million.
He said the Ministry of Education was working jointly with the Ministry of Interior and the National Treasury, to establish a framework for the construction of the classrooms in 322 selected secondary schools to provide the additional learning space required for the over 54,000 new students set to join junior secondary within the devolved unit.
President Uhuru Kenyatta in his Mashujaa Day speech directed the National Treasury to make available Sh8.1 billion for the project to support the primary to secondary school shift in the Competence-Based Curriculum (CBC).
The Head of State also appealed to MPs to give the programme priority in the National Government Constituencies Development Fund by constructing another 10,000 classrooms.
“I call on all Members of Parliament to stand together in solidarity with our children by prioritizing allocation of the CDF towards school infrastructure,” said the head of state.
In 2023, CBC pioneer learners will join junior secondary school after sitting the Grade Six national examinations, while the present Class Seven learners under the 8-4-4 system will join Form One after sitting KCPE examinations.
The total number of Grade Six and Standard Eight learners expected to join secondary school will be about 2,571,044.
Mbui warned “strangers” against setting their foot in or near examination centers.
“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.
Examination materials will be kept in 22 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.
Mbui warned, “We will arrest any individual possessing or purporting to have examination materials before scheduled time,”
By Jane Ngugi and David Opingo