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We dreaded exam results release date but a strict school calendar with that day is necessary

EDITORIAL
By Akisa Wandera | April 22nd 2021
Education CS Professor George Magoha talks to Kakamega High School Form Four students when he supervised Physics practicals KCSE exams on April 16, 2021. [Photo by Benjamin Sakwa/Standard]

Almost two decades ago when I sat my Kenya Certificate of Primary Education (KCPE) examination, Christmas was a holiday marked with both cheer and anxiety. Anxiety because in two days’ time would be the official release of the KCPE exam results.

December 27 was usually the D-day and I remember how family members would not waste a chance to remind candidates of the impending supposed "destiny decider". And when my turn came, just the thought of that day would make my stomach queasy.

Over the years, things have changed - technology has evolved and machines are now doing the exam marking, save for composition and insha papers. This means results are announced earlier than what most of us experienced. 

Fast forward to 2021 and the cohort that has had the most difficult school year yet receive their results. The class of 2020 is a unique one. They have waded through a pandemic, missed school for nine months, their school calendar largely disrupted as the government engaged in a wait-and-see situation as they dealt with a dynamic virus. The psychological effects of all this weighed down on these teenagers just like it did on the rest of the world.

But it would appear the uncertainties they have had to live through since last year have followed them to the very end. Exactly a week ago, on the April 16 at 2pm, Education Cabinet Secretary  after a meeting with President Uhuru Kenyatta released the KCPE results three weeks after the tests were completed.

But it is the manner in which these results were handled that is baffling. Just a week earlier, the CS had announced that the results would be released in a fortnight, keeping everyone guessing as to when exactly he would drop the bombshell. But why all the secrecy? It is absolutely unnecessary and unhelpful to the learners and their parents.

After the kind of year these children went through, the government owed them a smooth process in handling their exams. A group that had already dealt with so much anxiety did not deserve this kind of ambush. The national school calendar needs to be known by everyone right from the preparation to the release date. Learners deserve this at the very least.

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