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Knec releases new stringent KCPE and KCSE rules for 2017 registration

By Graham Kajilwa | Feb 9th 2017 | 3 min read

KCSE candidates at Friends School Musingu Boys.The Kenya National Examinations Council has issued new rules that will govern the registration of national exams this year. [Photo: File/Standard]

Strict controls on registering examination centres, a shortened registration period and conditions for repeat candidates are among new rules affecting national examination candidates.

The Kenya National Examinations Council (Knec) has detailed instructions for registering candidates for this year’s Kenya Certificate of Primary Education and Kenya Certificate of Secondary Education exams that all county and sub-county education directors and school heads should adhere to or risk being punished.

And to curb the mushrooming of exam centres, and possibly discourage unfair competition where some private schools have a centre for only a few bright students, any institution with less than 15 candidates is not allowed to register as an examination centre.

New instructions

Instead, the candidates should be registered with another institution or be hosted in the sub-county as private candidates.

Only special schools and prisons are permitted to host less than 15 candidates.

“Head teachers are asked to note that there will be neither hosting of candidates nor payment of the difference in examination fees to make up the minimum of 15 candidates,” said Knec acting Chief Executive Gathigia Karogo in a circular dated January 18.

In the letter, Knec also stated that there would be no registration of candidates after February 28.

Last year, the exercise was extended by seven working days to April 12, 2016, having run for about 12 weeks since January 1.

Knec has insisted that these new instructions must be studied carefully and understood before the online registration process is undertaken.

“The instructions on registration of 2017 KCSE are based on 2014 KCSE examination regulations and syllabuses, which give directions on how the exercise should be carried out,” said Ms Karogo.

The 2016 instructions were generalised, with no particular directions on how to handle the registration. They only insisted on keeping the timelines.

In this year’s exams, KCSE candidates have just six weeks to register - from January 17 to February 28.

“Head teachers should ensure candidates, parents and guardians are involved in the registration process to ensure that correct names are captured in the data base. There should be no initialising of candidates’ names (which has been a trend for some time),” said Karogo.

All school heads must ensure only eligible candidates are registered.

If one seeks to re-sit the exam, they must obtain permission - in writing - from the sub-county director of education. And this is only if the student sat for KCPE in 2016, and not a year before.

Head teachers are under instructions to ensure no bona fide pupils are dropped from a school to make room for repeating candidates.

“The repeating pupil joins the class as a full-time pupil before the end of the first term in 2017, no new class is opened to accommodate repeaters and the limit of 50 pupils per class is not exceeded,” said Karogo.

Regular candidates

All repeaters shall be listed after all the regular candidates have been registered and not before, or in between, as has been the tradition. And KCSE students can only be allowed to re-sit the exams if the last time was not more than three years ago.

Those repeating KCSE have been categorised into two groups: those taking all seven subjects and those doing only the ones they failed.

“Candidates repeating seven subjects and above (a maximum of nine) may re-sit the exam as many times as they want as long as they meet the criteria and the school offers the subjects,” explained Karogo.

Anyone taking less than seven subjects is not allowed to introduce any new subject that they did not sit for in the last attempt.

The candidates can sit for a minimum of one subject and a maximum of six.

Karogo also confirmed President Uhuru Kenyatta’s 2016 directive that from this year, the Government will extend payment of examination fees to private schools.

“However, private candidates and prison examination centres will pay their examination fees as per the previous years,” she said.

This year, the fee for KCPE exams is Sh800 per candidate payable by February 28, Sh500 to change examination centres to be paid by June 30 and Sh300 to rectify registration details payable by June 15.

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