Girl sits KCPE exams in hospital after giving birth as choppers distribute papers in Northern Kenya
A Kenya Certificate of Primary Education (KCPE) candidate in Tharaka North, Tharaka Nithi County, is sitting the examination in a maternity ward after giving birth on Monday morning.
Tharaka North Sub-County Director of Education Salecio Maringe told the media that the girl was in a stable condition.
"The candidate gave birth [this] morning at Marimanti Level Four Hospital and she is already doing her mathematics paper," said Mr Maringe.
The girl is among 2,147 candidates sitting the KCPE tests in Tharaka North.
The government has put in place all necessary arrangements to ensure that every candidate sits for the examination, said Eastern Region Commissioner Mr Vincent Achoki at a morning briefing at Kathituni Boarding and Day Primary School in Meru South sub-county in Tharaka Nithi.
He said education officials will make supervisory visits to exam centres and that other senior government officials were also expected in the region.
Despite ongoing rains, he said, officials will ensure that candidates start the examinations at the right time.
Some 173,000 candidates are sitting the Kenya Primary School Education Assessment (KPSEA) and 198,000 for the KCPE tests, said Regional Director of Education William Sugut.
He urged supervisors and invigilators to ensure the examinations are credible.
He said he had not received information on candidates sitting the examinations in hospital or prison.
In Tharaka Nithi, there are 11,458 KPSEA candidates – 6,007 boys and 5451 girls – at 494 centres, and 12,773 KCPE candidates, including 6,411 boys and 6,362 girls at 430 centres.
Choppers were used to deliver exams in insecurity-prone areas
In northern Kenya, the government deployed several choppers in Garissa, Wajir and Mandera counties to help distribute examination materials to insecurity-prone areas.
In Mandera, County Commissioner Onesmus Kyatha said all security measures were in place.
“We are well prepared for this exercise and we have beefed up security to counter any threats, especially on the … border with Somalia. We have two choppers that will assist us in delivering examination materials,” Mr Kyatha said.
He warned examination officials and candidates against engaging in malpractices in the tests that will be taken over three days.
“We are very alert and we shall be looking for those who want to discredit these examinations. Anyone found will face the full force of the law,” he said.
A total of 7,771 Grade Six pupils are sitting for KPSEA, while 6,944 started the KCPE examinations in Mandera.
Several schools were merged due to insecurity.
The affected primary schools include Elram, Abey Umur, Nyaat Alio, and Boji.
An educational officer in Mandera said all candidates from most schools near the border with Somalia were moved to safer areas.
In Garissa County, choppers will be used to distribute examination materials in at least four sub-counties because heavy rained made roads impassable.
County commissioner Boaz Cherutich said areas affected by insecurity will also be served by the two helicopters.
Balambala, Liboi, Fafi, Hulogho and Bodhai are some of the sub-counties where examinations will be delivered by air.
“We have made arrangements to ensure that all examination centres are secured. We are using choppers to deliver examinations in areas faced with insecurity and flood challenges in the county,” he said.
Mr Cherutich added: “We are warning against any examination irregularity and as you know, the penalties are very severe. We have to abide by the guidelines [from] the examining council”.
A total of 8,994 candidates are sitting KPSEA and another 9,477 KCPE in Garissa County.
In Meru, security was beefed up in areas bordering Isiolo County that are prone to bandit attacks as exams started on Monday.
Meru County Commissioner Fred Dunga said the General Service Unit (GSU) and Rapid Deployment Units (RDU) had been deployed in Igembe, Buuri, Tigania East and Tigania West, which border Isiolo and where cattle thefts were rampant.
“We have beefed up security in these areas because we don’t want children to be disrupted as they sit their exams,” Mr Dunga said when he witnessed the opening of exam containers at the county headquarters in Meru town.
“Since these police forces are not deployed in the manning of examination centres, they will ensure enhanced security during the examination period.”
He urged boda boda and matatu operators to be orderly near exam centres and warned that those found to disturb candidates will be dealt with.
“Boda boda and matatu operators should ensure they maintain silence whenever they approach exam centres. Let us give our children peace of mind and we will arrest those who hoot and disturb the candidates,” he added.
In Nyeri, 16,431 KCPE candidates will sit for their examinations at 470 centres.
Speaking during the opening of exam containers in Nyeri town, County Director of Education Sabina Aroni said the Standard Eight examinations recorded a higher number of candidates than those sitting for KPSEA, which has 15,781 candidates.
“Even though we are recording a high population of Standard Eight candidates, the candidature has remained constant over the years," she said.
At the King'ong'o GK Prison, Mr Wesley Kirui, the inspector in charge of education programmes, said 19 inmates are sitting the KCPE exam.
"Although currently we only have 18 inmates already prepared, because one of them was released … early this year after completing his jail term, we are hoping that he will report back today to sit for the exams," he said.
The county has 476 examination centres for KPSEA and 470 for KCPE.
In Muranga, the county security committee promised to secure the three national examinations and deal firmly with threats.
Water Cabinet Secretary Alice Wahome oversaw the start of the three exams in Murang’a.
County Commissioner Karuku Ngumo said 82,516 candidates will participate in the KCPE, KPSEA and KCSE exams at 1, 603 centres.
He promised that "security will be beefed up ... We are also looking out for anyone seeking to stain the national event through cheating".
Students will sit for the KCSE exams at 343 centres, with 15,885 boys and 15,312 girls. There will be 625 KCPE centres involving 13,290 boys and 12,944 girls, and 635 KPSEA centres with 12,951 boys and 12,034 girls.
The KCPE exam will run between November 28 and December 1, and KCSE from December 1 to December 23.
Grade Six learners will sit their tests from November 28 to November 30.
Mr Ngumo said security officers were briefed on what when a threat is detected.
"All reported incidents must promptly be relayed to multi-agency teams in real time so that action can be [taken],” he said.
“We want all officers to adhere to the released guidelines ... No [alcohol] for the officers involved ... any missing candidates be reported, tracked and [a] status report compiled."
A total of 25,556 Standard Eight and Grade Six learners are sitting for their national examinations in Kirinyaga County.
County Commissioner Moses Ivuto said security has been beefed up in all examination centres.
In Isiolo, examination officials waded through raging flood waters to deliver exams to two marooned primary schools in Isiolo South as nearly 9000 pupils sat for KPSEA and KCPE exams in the county.
County Director of Education James Nyaga said while roads leading to Iresaboru and Malkamanza primary schools in Sericho ward had been washed away by the floods, the examination papers were safely delivered to the centres.
The floods were occasioned by bursting of Ewaso Nyiro River banks following heavy downpour upstream.
The official said Yamicha primary school that had closed due to insecurity menace had resumed sessions and was hosting exams.
County Police Commander Hassan Barua warned security officers against abetting exam malpractices saying those found culpable will face the full force of the law.
Report by Gitonga Marete, Alex Njeru, Manase Otsialo, Mercy Mwende, Mwangi Muiruri, George Munene and Waweru Wairimu