Insecurity fears as 19,000 learners in Mandera set for national exams

Bula Mpya Primary pupils

Pupils from Bula Mpya Primary School on October 10, 2022. A total of 19,054 candidates will sit for this year’s national examinations including Grade Six, KCPE and KCSE in Mandera County. 

Photo credit: Manase Otsialo I Nation Media Group

Some 19,054 learners in Mandera will sit for the three national examinations set to start next week as examination centres are merged to reduce security threats.

The County Director of Education Abdi Shueb said candidates in areas prone to insecurity have been moved for smooth admission of the examinations.

“We are set to kick off this national exercise from next week and all measures and arrangements are in place to ensure all goes well,” Mr Shueb said.

Areas along the Kenya/Somalia border are the most affected by insecurity fears, forcing the examining body to move candidates to centres considered safe.

“We have moved candidates from schools in Arabia, Lafey and Mandera South because of insecurity but we have other measures by the security team to ensure all centres are safeguarded,” he said.

In Mandera South, Deputy County Commissioner Mounda Nyamboga said chiefs will play a vital role during the exercise.

“We have chiefs involved in the exercise so that the locals can understand the importance of this exercise and give their children humble time,” he said.

The DCC denied reports that candidates in the area have been moved due to insecurity.

“We are very safe in Mandera South. The only centres affected are those with fewer candidates like in Burumayo, Udole and Wargadud,” he said.

Send troops

Mandera South MP Abdul Ebrahim Haro had accused the government of unnecessarily moving candidates from one school to another due to insecurity.

“I don’t understand why we are spending Sh7.2 billion to send troops to Democratic Republic of Congo when students in my constituency will be moved from their schools to safer grounds to sit for national examinations,” Mr Haro said while on local television morning show.

According to the MP, the national government needed to prioritise local security before sending military troops to DRC.

He said candidates being moved over insecurity during the examination period are from Elram, Abey Umur, Nyaat Alio, and Boji Primary Schools.

“We are well prepared including having choppers to take examinations to far flung areas in Mandera but those centres in insecurity prone areas have been moved,” Mr Abdi Shueb, the County Director of Education, said.

Mr Shueb said other centres that have been merged are those with less than 30 candidates.

Some 7,771 Grade six pupils will sit for Kenya Primary Schools Education Assessment (KPSEA) while 6,944 will sit for Kenya Certificate of Primary Education (KCPE) examinations in Mandera.

A total of 5,749 candidates are to sit for Kenya Certificate Secondary Education (KCSE) in 57 centres.

Only two private secondary schools registered candidates for this year’s examinations after others closed their doors due to Covid-19 outbreak.

“We are only having two private secondary schools after others closed due to Covid-19 effects,” Mr Shueb said.