State to abolish SMS to get national exam results

Basic Education PS Belio Kipsang when they appeared before the National Assembly's Education Committee on December 7, 2023. [Elvis Ogina, Standard]

 The government has said that it will abolish the SMS platform that candidates use to get their results for national exams.

While appearing before the National Assembly Education Committee Basic Education Belio Kipsang said that they would put in place a more effective system that will be free of charge.

‘‘We are building systems which will be dependent on our resources that will be available to our candidates free of charge,’’ he said.

After the release of the results the ministry usually gives a number where candidates and their guardians send the index number of the candidate and get results at a cost of Sh25 for every SMS.

While addressing delays in results dissemination at the just concluded release of KCPE results via the SMS platform, the Kenya National Examinations Council (KNEC) through its CEO David Njeng’ere cited challenges faced by service providers in importing data from Microsoft Excel into their database.

CS Ezekiel Machogu observed that the SMS platform results problem was caused by the truncation of data by the Service Provider, leading to the missing signs.

Machogu told the MPs that there was a misalignment of data for the Kiswahili and Kenya Sign Language. Marks for Kiswahili were presented as marks for Kenya Sign Language.

This also affected English, Kiswahili and Social Studies. These are subjects in which more than one paper is combined to determine a candidates’ subject grade.

These errors were caused by configuration issues on the interface used to access results data from the database of the Service Provider.

The CS observed that although the Council adopted a SMS service as add service in relaying examination results, it is optional to parents.

‘‘The SMS results are not official results. The platform is only meant to provide an ease of access to the results, it does not replace the requirement to obtain the official results,’’ Machogu said.

The CS maintain that results sent by KNEC to schools are the true reflection of learners' performance.

‘‘This year, anomalies of assigning different grades to identical marks were reported on the SMS platform messages. There were no such anomalies in the official results on the KNEC portal and in the printouts sent to schools,’’ Machogu said.