Schools colluding with parents to have learners skip CBC
As the Competence Based Curriculum (CBC) gains momentum in the country, school headteachers in the counties of Garissa, Wajir and Mandera are now enriching themselves from the transition.
A week ago, Grade Six pupils transitioned to Grade Seven, as Standard Seven pupils in the old 8-4-4 system join Standard Eight in readiness for the Kenya Certificate of Primary Education (KCPE) exams later in the year.
Education officials in the region have raised the alarm over a trend where headteachers are registering Grade Seven learners for this year’s KCPE exam.
In the scheme, parents collude with teachers to have the Grade Seven learners dodge CBC.
Halima is now a KCPE exam candidate in a Mandera school when she is supposed to be a pioneer student in junior secondary school (JSS).
She has been a student at a private school where she sat the Kenya Primary School Education Assessment (Kapsea) last year at the end of Grade Six, but the Ministry of Education did not approve her school for junior secondary.
Noting that the school would lose business, the manager mooted a plan that would see him stay in business at least for a year.
The manager approached some parents and asked them to have their children registered to sit the KCPE exam.
Under this plan, Halima and her colleagues would skip the Grade Seven under JSS and instead join Standard eight and register to sit the KCPE exam.
Registration for the exam starts next week across the country.
To have the pupils registered for the exam, parents were asked to make alterations on their children’s birth certificates by changing one name.
The birth certificate is a requirement when it comes to exam registration, just like it is for the JSS registration.
The lid on the secret was lifted by Garissa Township Deputy County Commissioner Solomon Chesut on Sunday.
While warning teachers and parents in Garissa, Mr Chesut said learners were skipping Grade Seven and joining Standard Eight under the 8-4-4 system.
“We are aware of an upcoming trend from the local primary school teachers who are colluding with parents so that their students are moved from class six to class eight, thus evading their enrolment to junior secondary school,” Mr Chesut said.
“Those teachers involved in this will lose their jobs. You cannot have Grade Six learners taught a different syllabus skip to class eight and sit for KCPE and perform well. You will lose your jobs,” Mr Chesut.
He said notorious schools have been forwarded to him and the list handed over to investigative agencies for action.
“We have a list of schools forwarded to the Directorate of Criminal Investigations (DCI) and action will be taken. All those involved will be arrested and charged,” he said.
On February 2, North Eastern Regional Coordinator of Education Yusuf Karayu had written to county directors of education over the matter.
Mr Karayu, in his letter, warned of unauthorised registration of the Grade Seven pupils for KCPE exams.
“This is to inform that some unprofessional headteachers are registering Grade Seven JSS leaners as 2023 KCPE candidates without the consent of Ministry of Education offices,” Mr Karayu said in his letter dated February 2.
He warned that such headteachers will be dealt with firmly and held personally accountable for the registration.
Mr Karayu said the ministry has issued all learners including the grade seven pupils with Unique Personal Identifiers (UPI) numbers making it easy to trace them.
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“No matter what trick teachers and parents are using to have these students skip JSS, we shall still flag them because of that UPI. They might change names but that unique number will remain the same in our database,” he said.
He said he raised the alarm to warn teachers and parents against interfering with the future of their children.
In Mandera, Mr Abdi Sheikh, the county director of Education admitted that the same was happening but blamed private schools for the vice.
“We have reliable information that Grade Six students are skipping Grade seven and instead getting registered for KCPE in Standard Eight. The Registrar of Persons has noted unusual applications to have changes on birth certificates and we are making a formal report to the security agencies,” Mr Sheikh said.
A reliable source at the Registrar of Person’s office in Mandera confirmed a high number of applications for changes on birth certificates.
According to our sources most of the applications are about changing names of the child, parents or having name spellings changed.
“There was a time in January when we had a high number of applications for change of particulars on the birth certificates but I did not know the reason for that,” our source said.
He said now, the office deals with about 30 applications for change of particulars in a single day.
Due to the high demand for changes on birth certificates, Nation.Africa has established that some staff at the registrar’s office have opened another office where they are charging between Sh2,000 and Sh5,000 to have changes affected.
“You only need to pay Sh10,000 to have your child registered for KCPE in a public school once you make changes on the birth certificate,” Ms Saada Aliow, a parent, revealed.
Records at Mandera education offices showed a total of 6,608 Grade Six students had joined junior high when a total of 8,245 sat the Kapsea.
The fate of 1,637 learners expected to join junior high remains unknown, with a source revealing that the students could be the ones illegally moved to Standard eight.
In Wajir County, the situation remained the same, with some schools reporting low numbers in junior secondary school enrolment but with increase in Standard Eight numbers.
Education officials have raised the alarm over skipping of junior secondary by Grade Six learners to join class eight.
Many schools in the region have recorded a high number of student transfers from one school to another, but Mr Karayu warned that proper procedure must be followed.
“There is a procedure of having a student transferred from one school to another whereby a transfer form has to be duly filled by all stakeholders and the same submitted at Jogoo House for the records,” Mr Karayu said.