Puzzle of over 3,000 candidates who registered but missed KCSE exams

Moi Girls' High School

Kenya Certificate of Secondary Education candidates at Moi Girls' High School in Eldoret town, Uasin County, tackle their examinations on November 07, 2023.

Photo credit: Jared Nyataya | Nation Media Group

President William Ruto has ordered a probe into the more than 3,000 candidates who registered for the 2023 Kenya Certificate of Secondary Education (KCSE) but failed to write the national examination.

The Head of State who received a brief from Education Cabinet Secretary Ezekiel Machogu before the announcement of the KCSE exam results at Moi Girls, Eldoret called for tough and stern action against examination irregularities.

According to CS Machogu, 3,685 candidates failed to sit for the 2023 KCSE examination despite the government paying for their examination fees.

“I am concerned with the number that failed to sit the examination as it would point to a situation where some schools could be inflating the figures of registered candidates to meet the minimum threshold of 30 candidates required to be enlisted as an examination centre,” said Mr Machogu.

He directed the relevant Directorate of Quality Assurance to work with the Kenya National Examinations Council to investigate the candidates to unearth their true identity and whereabouts.

“Although there could be more reasons for the “missing” candidates, any misrepresentation of figures could imply a wastage of public funds since the Government pays examination fees for candidates based on the data submitted by schools,” added Mr Machogu.

The CS said a total of 2000 students who failed to sit for KCPE exams will be allowed to proceed to secondary schools, county and sub-county schools.

"Since the number was small, it was decided they join to form one and be allowed to sit qualifying examination later. They will be advised that they ensure that sit for individual qualifying exams by the time they are in form three to enable them to be registered for form four examination at form 4," said the CS.

He disclosed that a total of 4,113 candidates were involved in examination irregularities in the 2023 KCSE Examination.

“The Council has cancelled results of four cases of reported impersonation after completing investigations.   The results of the remaining 4,109 candidates who were suspected to have engaged in examination irregularities have been withheld pending the completion of investigations into their cases, within 20 days,” said the CS.

He disclosed that 120 contracted professionals were involved in aiding examination malpractices and that firm disciplinary action would be taken against such teachers.

The Ministry of Education has set up a functional National Examinations Appeals Tribunal and urged the aggrieved to seek redress through the Tribunal.  

The Kenya National Examination Council (KNEC) has meanwhile opened a four-year window for all 8-4-4 students to address all pending KCSE exam matters.

According to the KNEC Chairman Julius Nyabundi the council will handle all 2023 KCSE queries in the next 30 days.