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Headteachers: Postpone exams and close earlier

By Augustine Oduor | December 8th 2021
Firefighters fighting a fire at Maranda High School on December 5, 2021. The fire burnt down a dormitory that houses 630 students, most of them First Formers. [Collins Oduor, Standard]

Secondary school heads have proposed postponement of national examinations for two months to calm the unrest in schools.

The heads also proposed early closure of schools to contain the growing indiscipline cases among the learners.

The school heads argue that the students may not be ready to sit the national examinations scheduled for March next year, leading to rising arson cases.

Kenya Secondary School Heads Association (Kessha) chair Kahi Indimuli said the present candidates were in Form Three last year, and their stay at home may have affected their preparedness for examinations.

“When we brought on board Form Four students last year, these students were left at home for a long time. During the period, they were not properly engaged, and some got into the business while some picked up bad behaviour,” said Indimuli.

He said, as a result, the students who are now Kenya Certificate of Secondary Education (KCSE) candidates had panicked, having realised that time was running out.

“While at home, they had a lot of free time. They realise they no longer have the freedom even as teachers try to reintegrate them,” said Indumuli.

“Once they came back to school, they have realised that they are not prepared for the examinations and are using bad manners to communicate their frustrations,” added Indimuli.

Even as the police arrest students in connection to arson and parents charged for repairs and new buildings, anxiety still reigns in boarding schools.

But Education Cabinet Secretary George Magoha called for calm and said the examinations already prepared “have a human face.”

“Let our learners maintain calm and be ready to sit examinations because we are going to ensure we have a ‘human face’ in the examinations,” said Magoha.

He said the tests would reflect the challenges occasioned by the school calendar interruptions due to the Covid-19 pandemic. This means the results would be moderated differently from other years to ensure majority of students perform well.

“The examinations are ready, and there is no need to panic,” Magoha said at Egentonto Primary School in Kisii.

According to the revised education calendar, the 2021 Kenya Certificate of Primary Education (KCPE) examinations are to be done between March 7 and 10, next year. KCSE exams will be done between March 11, 2022, and April 1, 2022.

Kenya National Examination Council (Knec) chief executive David Njengere said online registration of candidates ended in August with 2,056,719-odd learners listed to sit.

Of these are 1,225,693 who will sit KCPE and 831,026 enrolled for the KCSE exam.

Indimuli proposed that closing schools early and delaying examinations may help the students calm down.

The second term started on October 11 and will run for 11 weeks till December 23.

And the third term under the revised school calendar will start on January 3, 2022, and end on March 4 after nine weeks.

“Even if we delay examinations by one of two months, we are already late in the whole school calendar,” said Indimuli.

He proposed that the 2023 school calendar starts in March.

“The 2023 school calendar was to start in January. We can delay this a bit to start in March so that we can accommodate this adjustment of the students because of the pressure,” said Indimuli.

He said he has already given the idea to the Ministry of Education officials for consideration.

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