Three Cabinet secretaries are scheduled to meet tomorrow to oversee the start of this year’s national examinations.
This comes in the wake of revelations that a series of strategic changes are in the pipeline to ensure the secure administration of the Kenya Certificate of Secondary Education (KCSE) and Kenya Certificate of Primary Education (KCPE) examinations.
The Kenya National Examination Council (Knec) is in the process of implementing measures to close any potential loopholes that could jeopardise the integrity of the examinations.
Education CS Ezekiel Machogu will host his counterparts, Kithure Kindiki (Interior) and Eliud Owalo (ICT), as part of a multi-sectoral approach. The meeting is scheduled for Monday and will take place at the Knec head office.
Machogu is expected to provide in-depth information about the three national examinations set to be administered to a record 3.5 million students.
Data from Knec shows some more than 1.2 million students will sit the Kenya Primary School Education Assessment (KPSEA), while another 1.4 million will take KCPE exam and 903,260 to take the KCSE exam.
This will be the last KCPE examination under the 8-4-4 education system.
Dr David Njengere, the Knec chief executive said adjustments will be made in the transportation of KCSE papers, particularly those scheduled for the afternoon session, to prevent any early exposure of examination materials.
Instead of schools receiving both morning and afternoon papers simultaneously, they will now collect each examination separately based on the scheduled session. For instance, papers designated for the morning session will be distributed in the morning, while afternoon papers will be securely stored until they are needed.
Njengere further explained, “The changes will involve the release and transportation of only one paper to the examination centre at a time.”
This change will primarily focus on KCSE examinations, as they have been identified as the most susceptible to early exposure.
Furthermore, the government has increased the number of storage containers by 82, bringing the total to 576. Schools have also been remapped to facilitate easier access to the nearest storage container.
“Previously, schools collected examination papers from the sub-county headquarters, but some schools are located closer to nearby sub-county headquarters than the sub-county they are in, so they will be collecting the papers from the nearest containers,” explained Dr. Njengere.
Extensive changes are expected to impact the grading of the KCSE examination.
The Presidential Working Party for Education Reform recommended that the grading of KCSE should be based on two compulsory subjects in determining learners’ final scores.
These compulsory subjects will be one language (English or Kiswahili) and Mathematics. These two subjects will be considered alongside a candidate’s best five subjects in calculating the final score. Presently, Knec grades candidates based on five compulsory subjects and two other best-performing subjects. Knec uses a candidate’s scores in Mathematics, English and Kiswahili, and two sciences chosen from either Biology, Chemistry, and Physics.