A teachers union now wants results for all the 574,125 candidates who sat last year’s Kenya Certificate of Secondary Education (KCSE) examinations recalled immediately.
Kenya National Union of Teachers (Knut) says after several days of investigations and consultation with examiners deployed to administer and mark the examinations, it is convinced that due process was not followed in marking and releasing of the 2016 results.
The union leadership argues that the results released last month do not reflect the true performance of the candidates, citing clear breaches of marking processes that were overlooked by the Kenya National Examination Council (Knec).
“We were shocked at the curve. It is not a normal curve. So we launched investigations as a union and we have consulted widely, even inside government, and the narrative is the same – that these results are not a true reflection of the candidates’ performance,” said Knut Secretary General Wilson Sossion.
Speaking just after releasing the 2016 examinations in Mombasa, Education Cabinet Secretary Fred Matiang’i termed the results as “credible and honest” and invited national debate on the results.
“There was no monkey business this time. The results are clean, clear and a true reflection of where we are as a country and where we want to go,” said Dr Matiang’i.
But a report prepared by Knut and seen by The Standard on Saturday, claims existence of “glaring anomalies, which cannot be entertained in the education sector”.
And now, the union has sought the intervention of Parliament in its quest to have the exam results recalled and subjected to the skipped processes.
“We hereby, honestly and in the spirit of patriotism to the country demand immediate recall of KCSE results and be taken through a due process of moderation and grading appropriately by chief examiners at the subject level,” reads the letter to the Clerk of the National Assembly Justin Bundi and JM Nyegenye of the Senate.
Speaking yesterday, Sossion said the union will escalate the matter should the government fail to act to save the future generation.
“Teachers are not happy, children are not happy and parents are not happy. No one wants free marks. But we insist on the right process that is fair and transparent. We cannot celebrate an individual yet a generation is buried. We will seek alternative ways if we cannot be listened to,” said Sossion.
In the letter dated January 5, Knut also demands “an immediate thorough and comprehensive forensic audit of marking and processing of KCSE examinations”.
“We have taken our time to interrogate the professional process of marking, a practice that Knec has engaged in for many years,” said Sossion.
The union argues that the examinations were not moderated during marking, claims the marking scheme was not discussed and adopted by the examiners and faults the rush of releasing results of the high stakes examinations.
“This and many others are scaring findings that Knut has unearthed and this borders condemnation of the lives of thousands of children of this country unjustly and unfairly,” reads the letter. The letter is copied to the Office of the President through Head of Civil Service Joseph Kinyua, the Deputy President’s office through Chief of Staff Ken Osinde, Matiang’i and Prof George Magoha of Knec.
The Speaker of the National Assembly Justin Muturi, Ekwe Ethuro of the Senate, Majority Leader Adan Duale, Minority Leader Jakoyo Midiwo and House Committee on Education chairperson Sabina Chege, have also been copied in the letter.
Even though Knut admits the gains in addressing cheating in examinations, it faults absence of cheating results in mass failure.
“Our careful analysis and interrogation of the 2016 KCSE results which are abnormal with highly skewed curve must invite all of us to address it. It is worth noting that the curve is not normal and it has the highest ever record of grades E, D and D– totaling 300,000,” reads the letter.
The union claims that only one grading system was used across all subjects, condemning one group of candidates to mass failure.
“Credible information that one uniform grading system was applied in all subjects is a disaster in itself and an action that must be reversed. (This) has disadvantaged the mathematics and science students thereby disadvantaging male candidates who traditionally in many schools opt to take three sciences and mathematics,” reads the letter.
Knut argues that the fact that of those who scored C+ and above, some 50,000 were girls and 38,000 boys explains the flaw.
“It (single grading system) has advantaged the humanities which is the main choice of girls. It is no surprise that no student scored grade A in English and this definitely is going to affect our students willing to join international universities,” reads the letter.
Only 141 candidates scored the coveted grade A compared to some 2,685 who attained the grade last year.And only 4,645 candidates scored grade A– (minus), 10, 975 attained B+ while 17,216 scored B plain.
Some 55,952 candidates scored grade B– and C+.
Cumulatively, only 88,929 candidates attained the university entry grade of C+ and above compared 169,492 who scored similar grades last year.