George Magoha

Education Cabinet Secretary George Magoha (centre) leads other ministry officials on a visit of Sparki Primary School in Mombasa on March 17, 2021.

| Kevin Odit | Nation Media Group

No candidate will miss exams, Magoha assures parents

What you need to know:

  • Public schools asked to accommodate learners from private institutions that shut down.

  • KCPE candidates will have their rehearsals tomorrow in preparation for the exams that start on Monday and end on Wednesday.

Education Cabinet Secretary George Magoha has assured parents that candidates who are unable to access their registered centres will be allowed to sit the exams in other stations.

Prof Magoha yesterday said no candidate will miss the tests, including pregnant girls.

“Even those with special needs who require special care, we shall ensure exams reach them. If the child was registered in Makupa and the candidate has relocated to Rusinga because their parents lost their jobs, that child shall take the test where he or she is,” Prof Magoha said.

Examination centres that were affected by floods especially in Baringo County have been moved to neighbouring schools while those that have less than 15 candidates have been merged with those closest to them. Some private schools had registered candidates but closed down due to economic hardships occasioned by the Covid-19 pandemic.

In January, The Kenya National Examinations Council (Knec) asked sub-county directors of education to identify public institutions to host such candidates.

KCPE rehearsals

They sent back the data on February 15. Knec has also tracked down candidates who might have been displaced to areas far away from their registered exam centres. However, it was not possible to establish the number of institutions or candidates affected.

The Kenya Certificate of Primary Education (KCPE) candidates will have their rehearsals tomorrow in preparation for the exams that start on Monday and end on Wednesday.

The Kenya Certificate of Secondary Education (KCSE) candidates will have their rehearsal on Thursday and begin the exams on March 26 2021.

The examinations were scheduled for last year but were postponed after the school calendar was disrupted by the outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Meanwhile, exam materials have been delivered to distribution centres in far-flung regions and the briefings for all the officials concluded.

Knec has put helicopters on standby to deliver examination materials in areas that might prove inaccessible due to heavy rains.

Examination leakage

The administration of the examinations will involve various ministries and agencies. In a message to the candidates, Knec acting CEO Mercy Karogo said she was confident that the exams will run smoothly.

Prof Magoha warned against plans to leak the exams in cheating hotspots of Isebania, Migori and some parts of Kisii County, where he said some people were preparing to sell fake exam papers to the candidates.

“The few crooked people who may be my own staff, teachers or others who are trying to confuse and tell people they are selling exams; we are watching you. Do not even attempt it. We won’t be merciful,” the CS warned. 

He spoke at Sparki Primary School in Mombasa County during a tour of the Coast region.
Knec chairman John Onsati had earlier this month observed that, although some cases of cheating were detected in the last examinations, the vice had been greatly minimised.

“Over the past four years, Kenyans and the world at large have regained confidence in our national examinations. We must avoid any occurrences that may take us back to the dark days and instead do our best to improve on the gains made so far,” he said.

Prof Magoha also banned the media from visiting the examination centres as was the norm previously. 

Prevent cheating

He said that journalists will only be allowed at the distribution centres.

To prevent cheating, Prof Magoha instructed centre managers and invigilators to ensure that all candidates remove their face masks and display the insides before they are allowed to wear them back.

“If we find any child with written materials, we shall not stop them from doing the exams but they will sit in an isolated area.”

Prof Magoha has promised that the national examinations will be conducted and marked “with a human face” owing to the special circumstances occasioned by Covid-19 that caused closure of schools for nearly a year. This is to ensure the candidates will not be disadvantaged.

This year, a total of 1,938,667 candidates will sit the national exams. Of these, 1,187,517 are registered to sit KCPE examinations while 751,150 are KCSE candidates. 

The number of those sitting the KCPE exam increased by 104,061 from 2019 while those sitting KCSE increased by 53,928.

Additional reporting by David Muchunguh