KCSE exams started yesterday with few glitches, even as Education Chief Administrative Secretary Sarah Ruto raised the alarm over the number of candidates sitting the tests under difficult conditions.
"The government is concerned by the increasing number of girls writing exams in hospitals and there is a need to address this issue to enable girls to complete their education journey," she said in Nakuru County, where she supervised the opening and distribution of examination materials.
Dr Ruto visited a sick candidate from Maria Soti Secondary School in Elgeyo Marakwet County, who is writing her examination from Nakuru War Memorial Hospital.
The tests started at 8am amid absenteeism blamed on teen pregnancies and untraceable candidates affected by insecurity. In the North Rift, the tests started amid tight security. Regional coordinator George Natembeya cited Samburu North and Baringo counties as areas where security had been beefed up to ensure that the exercise runs smoothly”.
At least three candidates from Nakuru and Narok are sitting for their examinations from hospital. In Nakuru, an 18-year-old candidate from Kuresoi North was admitted to St Joseph Nursing Home in Molo town after she delivered hours to the kick-off and a 17-year-old candidate from AIC Shartuka Girls in Trans Mara West gave birth at the Kilgoris Medical Centre.
“We have made arrangements and deployed examination officials and security officers to ensure the candidates do the examination from the hospital,” said Rift Valley regional co-ordinator George Natembeya.
Six candidates in Homa Bay County started their national exams from hospital beds after giving birth. County commissioner Moses Lilan said arrangements had been made to ensure all the candidates sit the tests.
In Nyandarua, eight pregnant girls are sitting the exams. In Isiolo, Education CAS Mumina Bonaya said girls sitting the exams across the country will be provided with sanitary towels regularly.
In Kisumu, a school principal is under investigation for allegedly blocking a Form Four candidate from sitting the tests, citing mental health.
The principal of St Barnabas Girls School Benter Ayacko allegedly said the 17-year-old had attempted to commit suicide and was blocked from taking the tests on Thursday.
It took the intervention of Kisumu County commissioner Josephine Ouko to have the child readmitted to school – well after 6pm.
In Nakuru County, 13 inmates from the Naivasha Maximum Security Prison are among candidates sitting the exams. The officer in-charge of the facility Hassan Tari said the prisoners had been prepared well despite challenges occasioned by the coronavirus pandemic.
Meanwhile in Nandi, a man, 56, was arrested for impersonation. Security personnel arrested Geoffrey Rono, who came in as Cleophas Kavulavu at Ndurio Secondary School in Nandi South. The deputy county commissioner John Tanui said Rono had already done the English Paper One after he assured exam centre officials that his identity card was on the way. He was arrested as he was preparing for the next paper.
In Turkana, county director of education Peter Magiri and Turkana Central sub county commissioner David Juma told journalists the Ministry of Education had narrowed down to 30 schools where there were plans of cheating.
By Brian Ojamaa, Tom Matoke, Sammy Lutta, Onyango K’Onyango, Victor Raballa, Francis Mureithi, Macharia Mwangi, John Njoroge, Geoffrey Ondieki and Waikwa Maina.