|Nairobi School’s Michael Musa takes school heads through an ICT lesson at their annual conference in Mombasa Wednesday [Photo: Omondi Onyango/Standard]|
By Linah Benyawa and Augustine Oduor
Kenya: Impersonation during national examinations will soon be a thing of the past as Kenya National Examination Council (Knec) intends to start identifying candidates through a biometric system.
Knec Chief Executive Officer Paul Wasanga said the Council would use some of the laptops to be distributed to Standard One pupils from next year January to implement their ICT plan.
“Each school headmaster will have a laptop and that is the machine we shall use to perform our ICT programmes during registration,” he said.
Wasanga said plans are underway to contact a firm to conduct biometric registration of all candidates as a pilot project in a few primary schools two years from now.
At the same time, Primary school head teachers want the Mathematics paper to be moved from day one of the Kenya Certificate of Primary Education examination.
They also want Standard Eight candidates to be allowed to use calculators during the national examinations.
“Once the children come out of the mathematics paper some of them think that they have failed the entire examination. Se we suggest it is moved to the last day when they will have done the other subjects,” said one of the teachers from Mombasa County.
Wasanga said the council would look into the teachers’ suggestion. He, however, said that a research would be conducted by Knec to ascertain if candidates also want the paper moved.
‘We shall do research because the previous one we did indicated that they want to do Mathematics on day one and get it out of their way,” he said.
“We shall also establish whether we should add more time to the Mathematics paper,” he added.
Wasanga also noted that the sums tested in KCPE Mathematics do not need calculators.
The Knec boss expressed the need for candidates to be identified accurately (using the biometric system) to avoid the misinformation and irregularities that have been faced previously.
“The project will start by piloting in 2015 so that we can be able to check if there are some challenges. We believe that once the biometrics become fully operational, it will help a great deal in identification of the candidates,” he said.
He added that the council would take advantage of the laptop project once it kicks off.
“This would make it easy for the electronic registration and identification of candidates because pupils would just be using their fingers and their personal data would be produced from the biometrics,” he said.
Wasanga explained that the same information collected during the Kenya Certificate of Primary Education would be used when they are sitting for the Kenya Certificate of Secondary School Examination four years later.
“We have been facing challenges where wrong information of candidates is given to the examination council, and we hope the laptops project will help us get sufficient and accurate data about candidates,” he explained.
Wasanga also revealed that candidates would soon write examinations through ICT.
This new development comes after Knec launched a pre-registration policy that will see candidates registered one year ahead of national examinations.
Wasanga said pre-registration of candidates would mitigate against various registration challenges.
“This will assist Knec to collect the registration bio-data of candidates in advance for monitoring and planning purposes,” he said.
He added that: “The pre-registration of 2014 KCPE and KCSE candidates in 2013 is therefore not meant for collection of examination fees but for monitoring and planning purposes.”
He said collection of examination fees would be done between January and March 2014, as has been the case.
An earlier circular from Knec instructed that beginning 2014 and in subsequent years, all schools would be expected to register their candidates - Form Three students and Standard Seven pupils - between June 1 and July 31.
The teachers also said all examination markers should be booked in hotels or university facilities.
‘We handle over 34,000 markers, and so it is difficult to get university facilities because they are always in session. We are however working to improve on those conditions,” he said.