At least 317 pregnant girls are among thousands of candidates who are sitting the Kenya Primary School Education Assessment (KPSEA) test and the Kenya Certificate of Primary Education (KCPE) examinations in South Rift counties.
A total of 292 pregnant candidates are sitting the examinations in Baringo, Bomet, and Narok counties. In Nakuru County's Naivasha sub-county; 25 other expectant girls are sitting for various national exams that started on Monday morning.
Of the 25, seven are KCPE candidates while the other 18 sat for their KCSE exams in different centres across the vast constituency.
A record 102 pregnant girls were among the candidates who wrote the examinations in Bomet County.
Bomet County Director of Education Apollo Apuko said 18 of them are sitting for KCPE exams and one girl in Grade six is writing her KPSEA papers.
Mr Apollo said 83 other pregnant girls are set to sit their Kenya Certificate of Secondary Education (KCSE) starting next month.
Speaking during the distribution of examination materials at the Bomet Central depot, Apuko said the 19 candidates who started their exams today are distributed in various centres in Sotik, Bomet East, Bomet Central Chepalungu, and Konoin.
The director said proper security measures have been taken to ensure the candidates are able to complete their exams.
“We are taking care of them and in case any one of them will deliver we will ensure that they sit their exams in the hospital without any problem,” he said.
Apuko who was in the company of Bomet County Commissioner Dr Ahmed Omar said despite the pregnancy cases there was no cause for alarm during the period.
Bomet county has 852 KCPE centres with 29,391 candidates sitting exams and 911 KPSEA centres with 28,634 candidates respectively.
In Baringo County, 22 girls wrote their KCPE exams while pregnant with Baringo North having 14 expectant mothers.
Mogotio sub-county had four pregnant girls, while Tiaty East and Baringo South sub-counties reported two candidates each.
Out of 12,087 KCSE candidates, 48 pregnant girls will be sitting for the examinations this year.
The area County commissioner Abdirisack Jaldesa who presided over the distribution of examination materials at Kabarnet Examination depot said the exercise started smoothly without any incidents.
“Exams have commenced in all the seven sub-counties, we have put in place enough security measures in making sure that candidates are accorded a good time as they do their examinations without challenges, this time the area is calm,” Jaldesa said.
In Baringo South, 91 candidates from three schools have been merged for the examination, candidates from Kapindusum primary school and Arabal are doing their examinations at Chemorongion Primary school. However, Kapindusum Primary School has no Grade Six candidates.
Narok County reported that a total of 120 girls are witting the examination while pregnant.
Area County Commissioner Isaac Masinde said the girls would be watched closely during the entire period so that they could be assisted where necessary.
He asked all the pregnant girls not to shy off from doing the national examination despite their condition adding that even those who would go into labour during the exam period would sit the exams in the hospital.
“We want all the candidates to be treated equally so that they can sit the national exams comfortably. No child should feel disadvantaged because of their condition,” he said.
Meanwhile, in Nakuru County, the government has promised to take stern action against all schools found to be involved in examination malpractices including discrimination.
This was after concerns were raised that Victonell Academy allegedly discriminated against pupils based on performance, by registering poorly performing KCPE candidates in other affiliated schools.
According to parents, about 16 pupils were registered under Langalanga Happy Child School (13) and Flamingo Primary (3) because they were not performing as per Victonell’s standards.
Speaking to The Standard Senior Assistant Director of Education Frederick Osewe said it was sad that such schools still exist.
He said that although it was hard for the Ministry to discover and address the concerns, they have taken steps to ensure the same will not occur again.
Osewe said to avoid disruptions, pupils will do examinations in their registered schools but they will ensure the results come in the name of the mother school (Victonell).
“We will not tolerate such a habit in schools. But we want the best for pupils and to avoid disruptions, they will do examinations in schools where they were registered.
The Standard understands that parents took their pupils to school in the morning. However, nothing was communicated to them regarding the examinations.
Osewe spoke on Monday morning as Cabinet Secretary Lands Zackary Njiru oversaw a smooth start to the KCPE and Kenya Primary School Examination Assessment (KPSEA) in Nakuru.
Mr Njiru unsealed the examination papers at the County Commissioners offices before proceeding to Bondeni Primary School, where he witnessed 18 students start the Mathematics examination at exactly 8.30am.
“We officially opened containers and exam papers were in order. Distribution to various schools within the county was smooth,” said Njiru.
He cautioned school heads to ensure examinations are done in a smooth manner without interference or cheating.
Njiru encouraged parents especially in slum Bondeni areas to take their children to school, noting that it is the school that shaped him to become who he is today.
“It is sad to see only 18 candidates in the school. We should ensure more pupils are enrolled in the school in the future,” he said.
Nakuru County Commissioner Gilbert Kitiyo said the security was well beefed-up. He however said that officers will be vigilant in order to ensure everything goes smoothly during examinations.
Over 100,000 pupils started the KCPE and KPSEA examination on Monday.
A total of 57,816 will sit the KCPE examinations while 59,795 will do the KPSEA in 1,087 centres.
Reporting by Gilbert Kimutai, Yvonne Chepkwony, Godfrey Oundoh and Daniel Chege.