Why parents want Knec to remark biology scripts

Nakuru Boys High School candidates sit a KCSE paper in 2018. [File, Standard]
Parents whose children scored overall top grades, but missed admission into medical school because they did not attain the minimum qualification in biology are seeking a re-marking of the exam.

The parents are seeking ways to place their children into Medical school, hoping against hope that a class action could yield their dream.

But the Kenya National Examinations Council (Knec) has declared they shouldn’t expect a different result even after re-marking of their Kenya Certificate of Secondary Education (KCSE) examination scripts, and that the requirement on performance on cluster subjects is an industry requirement.

This follows rejection of many of the 315 top achievers by the universities they hoped to enroll and train as medical doctors.

A student who registers a strong performance in the requisite cluster of subjects without necessarily being at the top of the class could be picked to study the more competitive courses.

It is the requirement that such medical college hopefuls attain the grade of B in biology that is at the centre of the controversy pitting parents against Kenya Universities and Colleges Central Placement Service (KUCCPS), the body that places students in universities and colleges.

In a raging debate in a WhatsApp group, for parents whose children attended elite schools like Alliance Girls, Kabarak High School and Precious Blood Riruta, the frustration is real.

“Hello parents, it is possible as a class to petition Knec, so that there is re-marking of biology scripts for our children? Class performance shows that only four students are legible for premier medical courses,” said an infuriated parent who requested anonymity to protect the daughter.

In their measured assessment of the selection process, the Kenya Medical Practitioners and Pharmacists Board — the healthcare industry regulator — would be unwilling to review the entry requirements to the class of medicine.

Their stand would otherwise be different had they brought their grievance to George Magoha, a medical doctor and chair of both Knec and KMPDB.

Even if the examination scripts were to be marked a hundred times over, he said, the outcome would be exactly the same.

“What makes them think the results would change even a bit? It will never change. I am challenging them to bring it on,” Magoha said in an interview.

A more realistic measure, he said, is for the students to re-sit the examination if they wanted to pursue the medical course.

“It is an industry requirement that to be a doctor, one must have excelled in biology and that is not about to be challenged,” said Magoha.

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