More than 100 senior security officers, Ministry of Education officials and Kenya National Examinations Council officials will on Monday meet to put in place security measures ahead of the start of national examinations in October.
The meeting, convened by the Ministry of Education headquarters, will be attended by county commissioners and county directors of education, among others, and will look at how to secure examination materials.
County commissioners chair security meetings in their areas and their involvement is aimed at gathering necessary intelligence to deal with exam cheating and other malpractices.
According to tough rules introduced last year, only deputy county commissioners and sub-county directors of education are allowed to open containers used to store examination materials.
This year, the government is hoping to secure the examination and seal all loopholes that could lead to cheating, just like it did last year.
Knec chairman George Magoha, who is tasked with communicating on all issues relating to the examination, could not be reached for comment on Saturday.
But two weeks ago, Prof Magoha assured candidates and parents that this year’s national examinations would be safe.
The chairman also asked those administering the examinations to observe a high level of integrity.
“The council wishes to assure the public that the systems that were used in last year’s examinations are still intact and that all papers are safe and secured,” he said.
It is also not clear if examination materials for 1.6 million candidates have already been airlifted to the country.
Kenya Certificate of Secondary Education (KCSE) practical papers will start on October 23.
The practicals are French (oral and braille), German (oral), Arabic (oral) Kenya sign language (practical skills, music practical, building and construction and home science. They end on November 3.
The Kenya Certificate of Primary Education (KCPE) examination will begin on October 31 and end on November 2, while KCSE theory papers will start on November 6 and end on November 29.
“In 2017, apart from the 288 sub-counties, the government has created 33 new sub-counties, with Knec purchasing new containers for these sub-counties,” a brief from the council dated September 18 says.
It adds that 35 new containers have been purchased and installed in different parts of the country, with 419 containers being used during examination distribution for KCPE and 405 containers for KCSE.
The containers will cater for areas where challenges of vastness and rugged terrain were raised during administration of this year’s national examination.
In the guidelines by Knec, the containers will be opened at 6am by sub-county directors and deputy county commissioners in the presence of head teachers, who are centre managers.
“Four security officers will be appointed to guard each container, two during the day and two during the night.
“Two other officers will escort examination materials from and to the container and man the examination centre,” the brief said.
Last week, the National Police Service recalled all officers assigned to guard former members of the National Assembly and the Senate.
In a circular to all regional commanders and formation heads, Deputy Inspector-General in charge of the Kenya Police Joel Kitili said the move was a result of “severe personnel constraints facing the service arising from growing demand to respond to security challenges”.
Some 1,003,556 candidates will sit the KCPE examination while 615,773 will sit the KCSE examination in November.
About 5,916 examiners have been identified for KCPE and 21,828 examiners for KCSE.
Due to the fresh presidential election set for October 26, home science 441/3 examination paper, which was scheduled to take place that day, has been moved to October 30.
Other major changes that the council has introduced include a combination of question papers and answer booklets into one document for all subjects and papers where practicable.
The candidates will not be issued with separate answer booklets, making the administration more efficient and effective.
All monitoring officers will be required to submit their reports within five days after completion of the examinations.
All primary schools will now close on October 25; Form One to Form Three students will go on holiday on October 24 and allow Form Four candidates to prepare for the examination.