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Unions fault move to relocate exam centres in Kerio Valley

A police officer keeping guard at Aror Ward in Elgeyo Marakwet County. January 20, 2022. [Christopher Kipsang, Standard]

Teachers’ unions in Elgeyo Marakwet have distanced themselves from a government decision to relocate examination centres from banditry blackspots in the Kerio Valley to schools in safer areas.

The Kenya National Union of Teachers (KNUT) and the Kenya Union of Post Primary Education Teachers (KUPPET) yesterday said they were not consulted before the directive was issued three days ago.

On Thursday, Rift Valley regional commissioner Maalim Mohamed said the move will guarantee the safety of students sitting KCPE and KCSE exams in March and April.

Marakwet Knut Secretary John Cheberi claimed that the decision was made by security officials and that teachers were not consulted.

Mr Cheberi said teachers who will be supervising the exams might be forced to travel long distances in an area rocked by persistent attacks.

“We were not consulted. Until today, we have not been given the list of examination centres that will be moved and merged with others. The regional commissioner provided the list of affected schools in Baringo and other neighbouring counties,” Mr Cheberi said. He said the decision is not a lasting solution to the banditry menace and called for the arrest of criminals behind the attacks.

His KUPPET counterpart Paul Biwott described the move as a hurried top-down decision.

 “The government should have deployed more security personnel to schools in banditry hotspots. We wrote to the concerned authorities seeking for more security agents to areas around the affected schools but that has not been done,” Biwott said.

Elgeyo Marakwet County Director of Education Kituyi Masibo said refused to comment on the directive.

 “Kindly ask the County Commissioner. He is aware of the issue,” Masibo said.

 In Baringo County, County Commissioner Abdrisack Jaldesa said they had put in place security measures to ensure learning is not affected.

 “We don’t expect any issues in as far as management of the national examinations is concerned,” he said.

 At least nine schools were affected following a wave of insecurity in Muchongoi, Baringo South. 

Baringo South MP Charles Kamuren said learners in the affected region were not prepared to sit the national examinations.

Joseph Serui, a parent in one of the affected schools said they are hopeful the government will put in place security measures to ensure their children sit the exams peacefully.

In Lamu, examination centres will not change despite a recent series of attacks that claimed more than 10 lives while some residents were displaced.

Coast Regional Commissioner John Elungata said security had been restored and exams centres would remain the same.

“The situation in Lamu has improved and we are prepared for exams,” Elungata said.