Raila Odinga’s call for postponement of exams met with criticism

National Super Alliance leader Raila Odinga wants national examinations to be postponed for two weeks to allow for the repeat presidential election.

According to the opposition coalition’s presidential flagbearer, there is nothing wrong in adjusting the exam timetable to enable “an important national exercise like an election” to be conducted.

He said pushing the exam dates forward would not “make the students die”.

He spoke at the Wilson Airport before leading his team to a campaign in Kisii.

Education Cabinet Secretary Fred Matiang’i has cautioned that the repeat election could disrupt the school calendar for next year.

Dr Matiang’i said programmes such as the selection of Form One students and the rollout of free secondary education are among activities that could be disrupted.

The minister proposed October 17 as a more convenient date for the poll.

The Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission later announced the election will be held on that date.

The Kenya Certificate of Secondary Education (KCSE) exam will start on November 6 and end on November 29.

The Kenya Certificate of Primary Education exam will start on October 31 and end on November 2.

KCSE candidates will start sitting their practical tests on October 23.

Schools will close by October 29.

On Tuesday, Mr Odinga’s proposal drew criticism from Murang’a Woman Rep Sabina Chege, Elimu Yetu Coalition, the National Parents Association (NPA) and the Kenya Private Schools Association (KPSA).

Ms Chege termed the remarks disrespectful to Kenyan children.

“I want to tell Mr Odinga that education matters should not be politicised or trivialised.

“The administration of exams requires time,” Ms Chege, who served in the last Parliament as Education Committee chairperson, said.

Elimu Yetu national coordinator Muthoni Ouko said exams are equally important to the more than 1.6 million children who will be sitting them.

NPA chairman Nicholas Maiyo said: “We are against the latest calls by the political class that the national exams be put off by two weeks. We consider this proposal untenable.”

KPSA chief executive officer Peter Ndoro said: “If the political class believes in consultation, any matter concerning the child should be subjected to the same process.”

October 17 gazetted as the official elections date.


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