Standard Eight national exam starts on Tuesday

Standard Eight candidates will on Tuesday start their examination, with the national testing agency assuring the public that preparations for the exercise were complete.

Kenya National Examinations Council chairman George Magoha said arrangements had been made to deliver materials to all the examination centres on time.

Some of the materials were delivered on Friday and others are set to be transported on Sunday.

Prof Magoha said steps had been taken to ensure a credible national exam as happened last year.

He announced that rehearsals for the Kenya Certificate of Primary Education (KCPE) exam will take place Monday.

EXAMINERS RECRUITED

“We are confident that all candidates in every part of the country will get an equal and fair chance to sit this important examination from Tuesday,” said Prof Magoha.

The KCPE exam ends on Thursday ahead of the Kenya Certificate of Secondary Education (KCSE) Mathematics Alternative A and Chemistry papers on Monday next week.

More than 1 million pupils will sit the KCPE exam, compared to 952,021 last year.

A total of 5,916 examiners have been recruited for the KCPE test and 21,828 for the KCSE exam.

A total of 1,003,556 candidates were registered for the KCPE exam and 615,773 for the KCSE exam.

Practicals for KCSE will be concluded on Thursday.

A total of 419 containers have been placed across the country for storage of exam materials.

FOLLOW RULES

Deputy county commissioners and sub-county directors of education are the only ones allowed to have the keys for the containers.

Special Schools Heads Association of Kenya chairman Arthur Injenga said educational institutions are ready for the exam and asked teachers to ensure they follow the laid-down rules.

Some 2,071 candidates with special needs will sit the KCPE exam and 1,404 will sit the KCSE exam.

New regulations

Kenya Secondary School Heads Association chairman Kahi Indimuli said they are ready for the exams since they are now acquainted with the new regulations that spell out tough penalties for those who condone cheating.

In a bid to curb cheating, this year, the question papers and answer booklets have been combined.

The council said the papers would be combined where applicable, and that candidates would not be issued with separate answer booklets.

Multiple choice answer sheets for the KCPE exam will have personalised details.

IRREGULARITIES

These are some of the measures the council and the Ministry of Education have taken to address irregularities during the exam.

The council has also introduced personalised optical mark reader forms for the final primary school exam. These are aimed at helping candidates who have problems with shading their index numbers and those who inadvertently shade the ellipse for absent.

Even as the exams agency finalised plans for the Standard Eight exam, the Kenya Union of Post-Primary Education Teachers expressed fears that the political instability witnessed in the country over the last four months would impact on performance this year.

Mr Ndung’u Wangenye, the union’s Laikipia county executive secretary, said the political instability has had negative effects on the education sector.

“Teachers and candidates were also following the national issues in the country. Remember schools are mostly used as polling stations and tallying centres,” said Mr Wangenye.

POLITICAL STABILITY

He said the candidates’ performance in the exams is likely to be adversely affected, adding that the education sector has been a casualty of the political instability.

According to Mr Wangenye,  the long electioneering period caused undue anxiety among the candidates, teachers and other education stakeholders.

Initially, the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission intended to conduct the repeat presidential poll on October 17 to avoid interfering with academic activities.

Education Cabinet Secretary Fred Matiang’i had warned that the timing of the fresh election could affect the ministry’s annual calendar of events such as the  marking of exams as well as selection and placement of Form One students next year.

BOOST SECURITY

At the same time, Mr Wangenye asked the government to boost security in schools.

He said teachers working in schools that are not in their areas of origin should be provided with adequate security following tensions created by divisive politics.

Mr Wangenye also called on the police to step up surveillance and operations in Laikipia County, particularly in areas that were hit by a series of attacks by armed illegal herders and cattle rustlers.

He cited Olmoran, Rumuruti, Mutuiku, Marmanet, Mukodogo, Segera and Laikipia North as areas that need enhanced security.

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