MPs: Absent candidates to get supplementary test

President William Ruto distributes KCPE examination papers to candidates at Joseph Kange'the Primary School. [PCS]

Candidates who miss KCPE and KCSE examinations due to illness may be provided with supplementary examinations if the proposal by MPs is accepted.

The National Assembly Education Committee has proposed that the Kenya National Examination Council (KNEC) exempt hospitalised students from taking the exams until they have recovered.

If this proposal is adopted, both primary and secondary students will enjoy the same privilege currently granted to university students, who are allowed to postpone assessments due to illness.

Committee chairman Julius Melly said administering a regular examination to someone who is sick in the hospital or has just given birth is not feasible. The committee discussed potential solutions and considered the option of conducting supplementary exams in the future. Melly further said administering alternative yet equivalent tests would ensure a fair playing field.

Melly, speaking after a meeting with Council chief executive Dr. David Njengere, said although this represents a policy change, it is feasible.

"A student giving birth at 6am and then being expected to take an exam at 8am - is that even possible? Mentally and physically, she is not prepared. It's incorrect, highly unfair, unkind, and inhumane to administer an exam to someone who is sick," he said.MPs also directed blame at the treasury for the delayed disbursement of funds intended for compensating teachers contracted to oversee national exams.

"In the upcoming supplementary budget, we will ensure every examination being conducted prioritises the remuneration of examiners," Melly said. The committee chairman underscored that the treasury should release funds to the council in a timely manner to facilitate the improved administration of examinations.

"We are urging the government to plan the budget well in advance and allocate the necessary funds to Knec before the commencement of the examination period," Melly said.

Malava MP Malulu Injendi said the council has encountered difficulties in promptly compensating teachers due to the delayed disbursement of funds from the national treasury.

"Our teachers often find themselves on the streets demanding delayed payments. This issue arises due to delays in payment from the treasury," he said.