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37 years and Sh3b later, Mitihani House set to be opened tomorrow

Kenya National Examinations Council offices in South C, Nairobi. [Wilberforce Okwiri, Standard]

The national examinations’ council is set to move into a multi-billion shilling building whose construction has lasted more than three decades.

Education Cabinet Secretary George Magoha will preside over the opening of the state-of-the-art Mitihani House in Nairobi’s South C tomorrow.

In 2020, Mitihani House was listed among the Ministry of Education’s stalled projects. At the time, it was the longest-running project, when the ministry was sagging under the weight of Sh200.7 billion incomplete projects.

An analysis of performance of capital projects under the 2016/17 to 2018/19 financial years reveals that the building was to cost Sh2.67 billion.

The project that started in 1985 was still under construction, with new completion dates pushed to 2022. 

By 2020, some Sh2.3 billion had been spent on the project with 87 per cent completion rate, more than three decades later.

“Project stalled. The original contractor was discharged by paying Sh322 million in 2017/18 FY,” the 2020 status report read.

Nearly 37 years later, Magoha will officially launch the house estimated to cost about Sh3 billion.

A flyer from the Kenya National Examinations Council (Knec) informed stakeholders that the office had moved to South C.

“This is to inform our esteemed customers and stakeholders that we have moved to Knec head office and all our services to the New Mtihani House, Popo Road, South C,” reads the poster.

Prof George Magoha, Cabinet Secretary, Ministry of Education. [Boniface Okendo, Standard]

A statement from Magoha’s office read: “The Kenya National Examinations Council shall be commissioning the council’s head office located in Mitihani House South C on Friday, at 10am. The Chief Guest will be Prof George Magoha, Cabinet Secretary, Ministry of Education.”

Knec Chief Executive David Njengere also released another statement through the agency communication office.

Past council chief executives had indicated how difficult it was to manage examinations since Knec operated from different offices.

The council operated from six different locations in the city, paying monthly rent of up to Sh60 million.

Knec was reportedly unable to control of some of the processes during examination.

The move is now expected to reduce the cost of printing examinations, minimise the security risk and enhance confidentiality of the examinations.

For a long time, Knec has operated two bases for examination administration­–one is on Dennis Pritt Road, Nairobi, where primary and secondary school national examinations are released annually.

Another office is situated in Industrial Area.

It emerged that test development were previously done at the National Bank Building, city centre and another office is situated in the National Housing Corporation building, which also acted as the council’s headquarters.

Knec previously also had offices at Ex-Telecom building.

The new building was intended to have a complex where printing of all council examination papers would be done and is expected to house the entire council secretariat.