Exam fees could go up as Knec seeks to raise Sh6b

Education Cabinet Secretary Prof George Magoha with the Beneficiaries of the 2020 KCPE Exams Scholarships awards at the Kenya Institute of Curriculum Development on July 22, 2022. [Samson Wire, Standard]

Candidates sitting national exams could pay higher fees as the Kenya National Examination Council (Knec) seeks Sh6 billion to plug its projected funding deficit.

Knec says for the next five years, it will require Sh50.6 billion, against the expected resources allocation of Sh44.1 billion.

The council also listed major risks that may frustrate its operations, including possible mass walkout of teachers who process national examinations.

Cheating, political interference, inadequate secretariat staff and cyber insecurity among other concerns are also listed as major threats to national examinations.

“Mitigation measures will include lobbying for more funds, diversify sources of funds... and reviewing of examination fees,” says the 2021-2026 Knec strategic plan to be unveiled today.

Even though KCPE and KCSE examination fees for candidates is paid by the government, the exam council has listed other exams as one of the ways it will raise money for the smooth delivery of its mandate.

This, however, means candidates sitting other examinations administered by Knec could have their tests fees raised.

In addition to KCPE and KCSE, Knec offers the tertiary level examinations of Business, Technical and Teacher Education Examinations.

KNEC is mandated to offer assessments for Early Years Education, Middle School, and Senior School Educational Assessments in line with the Competency-Based Curriculum.

However, the agency will continue offering the school examinations for learners in the 8-4-4 educational system until it is phased out in 2023 for KCPE and 2027 for KCSE.

Chief Executive David Njengere said the strategic plan is aligned to the changes taking place in government policies and the operating business environment. 

“These changes include CBC, Medium Term Plan 3 and the National Education Sector Strategic Plan 2018-2022,” said Njengere.

On KCSE and KCPE, the government spends Sh6,000 per student. The cost, however, varies with the number and nature of subjects students are examined on.

Knec, however, says the government allocations have remained constant for the last two years while the cost of administering exams has been rising. 

The council says its part of its objective is to ensure a systematic and well-coordinated approach to expanding its resource base. The agency hopes to partner with other institutions and professional bodies that require services related to examinations and assessment at a fee.

The Council also says it shall generate money by assessing and certifying recognition of prior learning. It will also internally print and sell mathematical tables and sell the feedback reports and past papers using online platform.

Knec projects to develop a strategy for using excess capacity for commercial printing.

The council says it will require 147 additional staff, among them top managers, middle management team and operational cadre workers. Analysis of the data shows it will require 16 additional top managers in the next five years.

The agency will also require 105 middle-level managers and 26 operational cadre staff over the same period of time. Njengere said the council seeks to enhance its capacity and improve service delivery due to the increasing candidature, increase in population, competition and curriculum changes.