Gusii MPs protest unfair treatment of KCSE candidates

Kisii School Deputy Principal Denis Ayieko picks KCSE Examination papers from the Kisii Central Examination container on November 6, 2023. [Sammy Omingo, Standard]

Members of Parliament from Kisii and Nyamira counties have expressed concern over the distressing occurrences witnessed during the administration of the national examinations in the region.

The 10 MPs who addressed journalists at Parliament Buildings in Nairobi, on Wednesday said that they were not happy that students from the two counties had been subjected to dehumanizing treatment and unjust profiling by examination officials with unwarranted and invasive searches.

National Assembly Chief Whip Silvanus Osoro wondered whether some students were being subjected to uncalled-for searches simply because the Education Cabinet Secretary Ezekiel Machogu comes from the region that also produced the best school in KCSE nationally last year. Nyambaria Boys School topped in the 2022 KCSE exams.

“We are wondering whether some people want to embarrass the Education Cabinet Secretary Ezekiel Machogu since he comes from the Gusii region or some people are jealous that the region produced the best school nationally in KCSE and would see our children failing,” wondered Osoro.

The South Mugirango MP cited Nyathwoni Secondary School where Kenya National Examinations Council (Knec) officials frogmarched the Centre Manager causing disruption.

Kitutu Masaba MP Clive Gisairo said that the reported incidents of students allegedly being subjected to unwarranted searches including being stripped naked are not only unacceptable but also traumatizing and in violation of their constitutional rights.

The MP noted that the most unfortunate incident happened at Nyambaria Boys School where students were allegedly stripped naked in the pretext of being searched and declared that the legislators will not remain silent in the face of violation of learners' dignity.

“While we acknowledge the importance of safeguarding the integrity of the examinations, we vehemently assert that this should never come at the expense of the human dignity and rights of the students, every student deserves to be treated with respect, fairness and dignity, regardless of their background or region,” said Gisairo.

Kisii Woman Rep Doris Aburi said that the excessive and intrusive measures being undertaken by some exam officials not only violate the fundamental rights of students but also create an atmosphere of fear and intimidation, hindering their ability to perform to the best of their abilities in the national examinations.

Gusii MPs called upon relevant authorities particularly Knec to thoroughly investigate the disturbing incidents and hold accountable those responsible for gross violation of students' rights.

They called for the implementation of stringent guidelines and protocols to ensure examinations are conducted in a manner that upholds the dignity and respect of students countrywide.

Nyamira Woman Rep Jerusha Momanyi said that exams is not a matter of life and death and wondered why the Knec officials were subjecting students from the region to draconian measures that will only serve to intimidate them and affect their performance in KCSE.

“We would like to know the intention of these exams officials. How do you justify stripping students naked to check them, who has sent these people to do this since we have not seen this happening in other parts of the country, we are not going to allow this to happen under our watch,”’ said Momanyi.

Borabu MP Patrick Osero wondered whether Kisii and Nyamira counties schools would have been subjected to the unfair searches if they had not performed well in last year's KCSE and KCPE.

Nyaribari Chache MP Zahir Jhanda questioned why such searches were not being conducted in other schools across the country arguing that no law allows police officers in exam rooms.

West Mugirango MP Steve Mogaka said that the legislators remained committed to advocating for the rights and well-being of students in schools in the two counties and will tirelessly pursue justice and fairness in the administration of exams for all Kenyan students.