Knec gives new rules for exams as private schools reject move

Education CS Prof. George Magoha speaking during the release of the 2020 KCSE results, May 10, 2021. [Boniface Okendo, Standard]

The Kenya National Examination Council (Knec) will not allow schools with less than 40 candidates to be registered as national examination centres.

In the circular, Knec acting chief executive Dr Mercy Karogo said only centres that have over 40 candidates as determined by the sub-county education directors will be allowed to register.

Previously, Knec had barred centres with between six and 14 candidates.

But now the new conditions for a minimum of 40 candidates will apply for the Kenya Certificate of Primary Education (KCPE) and the Kenya Certificate of Secondary Education (KCSE) starting with the 2021 examinations early next year.

The condition set by the council is that the host school must be within the sub-counties and served by the same KNEC examination distribution point.

The distribution centres are the containers located at the Deputy County Commissioner (DCC) compounds countrywide.

Stakeholder participation

Kenya Private Schools Association (KPSA) whose members are likely to be most affected by the directive said it had rejected the directive in total and is looking for a sitting with the council to reverse the decision.

It claims that the move undermines public-private partnership that has promoted access to both primary and secondary schools.

“We are writing to express our deep concern over the manner in which this decision was made without consulting the key education stakeholders.

“It is an abuse to the doctrine of stakeholder participation and an attack on private schools,” KPSA chief executive Peter Ndoro said in a circular to members.

Disrupt the progress

In the KNEC circular dated June 11, to the regional and county directors of education, in the host schools, only centre managers or the headteachers of host schools will be allowed to collect the examination materials at the commission’s distribution points.

“The host headteacher will be the only authorized person to collect the examination materials from the container, coordinate the conduct and the return of the candidates’ answers scripts to the container during each day of the examination,” reads part of the notice.

The sub-county directors have been directed to submit lists of the host examination centres by August 15.

But Ndoro, in a notice to private school owners, said the rules will disrupt the progress made in expanding access to the provision of quality education.