El Nino should be high on agenda of exam meeting

Moi Tambach primary school head teacher Jane Obande escorted by police officers during the collection of day one national examinations at exams container in Iten ,Elgeyo Marakwet County on November 28, 2022. [Christopher Kipsang, Standard]

Cabinet Secretaries of Education, Internal Security and ICT are scheduled to meet today to discuss issues critical to the success of the upcoming national examinations. The Kenya Certificate of Primary Education (KCPE) and the Kenya Certificate of Secondary Education (KCSE) and Kenya Primary School Education Assessment exams are scheduled to start next month.

These national examinations mark the culmination of primary and secondary levels of education and the start of the next phase in the education journey.

Given the centrality of the exams to a candidate's future, the unscrupulous among society seek unfair means to manipulate them to the advantage of some candidates. Hence, top on the agenda of today's meeting should be the security of the examination papers and how to seal loopholes through which exam cheating thrives.

The other critical aspect is logistics to ensure that no candidate, whether in an urban area or the most remote of villages in Kenya is disadvantaged in sitting the examinations. This is important, especially after warnings by the meteorological department about the looming El Nino rains that usually bring along a lot of destruction. The exams, incidentally, coincides with the coming of El Nino.

There have been cases in which roads, rendered impassable in some areas by heavy rains and swollen rivers, either impeded the transportation of examination material, stopped students from getting to exam centres or delayed the start of the examinations.

In some areas of the country, rampant insecurity has impeded the smooth administration of national examinations. These are some of the key issues that should be discussed today.

The government must pull out all the stops to ensure examinations go on as planned. There will be no excuse for it to be caught unawares since it has had all the time to plan and execute the plans. The need for the government to step up security, have vehicles and helicopters on standby to be called upon when, and if need arises, cannot be gainsaid.