School in trouble after barring students from KCSE exams over pregnancy, fee arrears

Mutewa Secondary School

Mutewa Day Secondary School where 10 candidates are said to have been barred from sitting for KCSE. 

Photo credit: David Muchui I Nation Media Group

A school in Meru is on the spot after reportedly barring ten of its candidates from sitting this year’s Kenya Certificate of Secondary Examination (KCSE).

The learners from Matewa Day Secondary School in Tigania Central were reportedly sent away on exam day for various reasons including fee arrears and pregnancy. 

One candidate who was pregnant reported being denied access to the exam room.

“When she went to school on exam day, she was sent away. Why should she be denied access to the exam room yet she was registered?” Mr Joseph Muketha, the girl’s father, wondered. 

The girl is reportedly among four learners at the school who were pregnant. 

Another parent, Ms Penina Karimi, said her son was sent home over fees arrears.

“I have been struggling to pay fees for my son. He has not been in school due to health issues and lack of fees. The teacher said he cannot sit for his exams because he has been absent. We were told that the DCC has issued orders that students who are absent cannot sit their exams,” she said.

Two other parents, Mr Amedeo Kimathi and Mr Patrick Kaugiria, also said their children were sent away from school over school fees balances.

“My child was sent home in September but I could not raise the school fees. My daughter became pregnant while at home. She was denied access to the exam room because I owe the school Sh10,000,” Mr Kaugiria said.

Other parents have alleged that the school was not keen on having candidates who have not been in class in recent months as it feared they may negatively affect the institution’s performance in this year’s KCSE.

Government policy

Consequently, Meru County Commissioner Fred Ndunga said the school is being investigated for going against government policy requiring that every learner be registered for national exams.

“I have instructed DCI (Directorate of Criminal Investigations) and the Ministry of Education to get to the root of the incidents. The government position is that every candidate must write their exams. This is why we go as far as delivering papers to hospitals and prisons. The only excuse admissible is if the candidate is critically ill,” Mr Ndunga said.

Efforts to get a comment from the school administration on the move to bar the students from doing their exams were futile.

Separately, Tigania Central Deputy County Commissioner Patrick Messo said there is rampant indiscipline among learners in the area leading to high cases of truancy. He noted that many children were leaving school after registering for national exams only to end up working as house girls in Nairobi and other towns.

“On Monday, we had an incident where ten KCSE candidates came 30 minutes late for the exams. We had to intervene to address the matter. We have a challenge with parents absconding their responsibility and allowing their children to stay at home,” he said.

He cited early marriage, teen pregnancy, indiscipline and lack of role models as a major impediment to access to education in the area.

“In the KCPE exams, we tried to trace more than 200 candidates in vain. They never showed up despite having been registered. There is a need for concerted effort to address this menace,” Mr Messo said.

According to Meru County Director of Education David Kinaiya, 26,879 candidates were registered for KCSE this year.

This is even as it emerged that 21 KCSE candidates and more than 200 KCPE candidates had not sat for their exams this year.