2020 exam calendar most challenging in 32 years, Knec says

Centre managers collecting examination materials at the Naivasha depot in Nakuru County on March 29, 2021. Knec Chairman John Onsati says 2020 has been the most challenging exam calendar since the council started overseeing national tests 32 years ago.

Photo credit: File

The Kenya National Examinations Council (Knec) now says 2020 was the most challenging exam calendar since the council started overseeing national exams 32 years ago.

Knec chairman John Onsati said the completion of the 2020 examination cycle, amid unprecedented Covid-19 challenges, has proved that the council can maintain Kenya's education standards, which have "remained high for years".

Prof Onsati said Covid-19 affected the education calendar worldwide and acknowledged support from the Ministry of Education and other stakeholders in safeguarding the integrity and professionalism of the exams.

“We have had challenges in the 2020 education calendar and this is a landmark in the service since the council was mandated to oversee examination in 1989. We have seen a number of schools closing and some have never resumed but (we got) support from Cabinet Secretary George Magoha and other stakeholders to ensure the completion of the education cycle,” said Prof Onsati.

He added, “We also recognise support from parents, teachers and students who ensured that there were fewer malpractices by reporting such cases, which could have affected the standards of the Kenyan education results.”

Education standards

The Knec chairman said the council will continue to ensure Kenyan education standards are maintained since the country is rated highly globally.

“…Amid unprecedented challenges, Knec managed to navigate successfully without malpractices, which would have affected the moral of education and growth of the country’s education system,” said Prof Onsati.

In the coming months, Knec will recruit a new chief executive officer (CEO), five years after a purge of officials over exam leakages.

The new appointee will take over from Mercy Karogo who has been serving as the acting CEO since the dismissal of nine top officials, including her predecessor Joseph Kivilu.

In an advert in the dailies, the Knec board said it was looking for a self-driven, fair, innovative, firm, dynamic and results-oriented leader.

Prof Onsati said Knec will continue rolling out competency-based assessments through the Competency-Based Curriculum (CBC) at the basic education level.

In March, the first school-based assessment for Grade 4 learners started, which was the pioneer class of the 2-6-3-3-3 education system under the CBC.