At least 370,000 candidates who had been locked out of this year’s national examinations have one week to submit genuine birth certificates.
The Kenya National Examinations Council (Knec) has announced that it will reopen registration for both the Kenya Certificate of Secondary Education (KCSE) and the Kenya Certificate of Primary Education (KCPE) examinations between March 7 and March 15.
The national examiner said a number of candidates did not provide genuine birth certificate numbers and warned that registration with fake documents was an examination anomaly.
In a circular dated March 1, Knec directed county and sub-county directors of education to inform principals, head teachers, parents and guardians to seek genuine birth certificates for candidates who had not provided them or those who provided fake ones.
“This must be done urgently,” directed Knec Acting Chief Executive Officer, Dr Mercy Karogo.
“The registration systems for both KCPE and KCSE will be opened for a week from March 7 to March 15, 2019, to allow insertion/amendment of birth certificate numbers only,” added the circular.
This information will be counter-checked, to confirm if the submitted documents and changes are valid. Knec warned that any false information will see candidates barred from sitting the exams.
“At the lapse of this period, the data will be validated with Integrated Persons Registration Services (IPRS) department, and any candidate without or found to have provided a wrong or fake birth certificate number will be deregistered,” warned Knec
According to Knec data, 1.78 million candidates were registered to sit the 2019 examinations, whose registration deadline was February 15. Of these, 1,089,671 were KCPE candidates while 698,935 students registered for KCSE.
Out of these, at least 370,000 candidates were facing de-registration.
Data from Knec shows that primary school candidates are the most affected by de-registration with 342,916 cancelled registrations. There were only 28,713 cancelled registrations in secondary schools.
The data further reveals Meru as the county with the highest number of cancelled registrations with 23,806 candidates in primary and 3,646 in secondary.
Yesterday, Kenya Secondary School Heads Association (Kessha) chair Kahi Indimuli dismissed the March 15 registration deadline.
“It does not make sense to give a deadline to heads without considering the time taken by the Registrar of Births to give the birth certificate. Birth certificates are a government responsibility as heads we only work with what parents give us,” said Indimuli.
Indimuli said Knec should first look into their systems of registration before de-registering any candidate claiming it has many loopholes.
Indimuli said the system as it is, allows for a head teacher at the primary level to enter ‘XXXXX’ or any other number in cases where the birth certificate is not available.
The challenge then comes when the pupil proceeded to secondary school after acquiring birth certificates.
“The system will then counter check and find the two numbers are not the same,” said Indimuli.
He added: “As heads, we work with the deadline issued by Knec, and even send the candidates home to come with birth certificates but they still return without.”
The Kessha chair dismissed Knec’s earlier threat to de-register 370,000 candidates.
“Where do they want these candidates to go? Do they (Knec) have an alternative way of registering them? We cannot talk of 100 per cent transition by deregistering candidates. That is the shooting ourselves in the leg,” he said.
Kenya Primary School Heads Association (Kepsha) said the duty of ensuring candidates have correct birth certificates lay with parents and guardians.
According to Kepsha’s chair, Nicholas Gathemia, the responsibility of head teachers was to identify candidates during examinations.
“We never had prior information that we should not register candidates who did not have birth certificates,” he said.
Gathemia said that the issue of the birth documents had never been a hindrance in registering candidates for the national examinations in the past.
“The only difference in the registration process this year was the birth certificates, which in some cases were not available,” said Gathemia.
National Parents Association Chair Nicholas Maiyo said it was unwise for Knec to drag children into the matter, and that the council should have instead pursued parents who presented fake documents.