Rift Valley Regional Commissioner Mohamed Maalim and exam officials at Rongai in Nakuru on December 2, 2022. [Kipsang Joseph, Standard]

The Kenya Certificate of Secondary Education (KCSE) examination kicked off across the country Friday with 884,263 candidates writing the tests that will take three weeks to complete.

The students started with English paper 1 and closed Friday with Chemistry Paper 1. Education officials moved across three counties on Friday morning to oversee the opening of containers carrying the papers and distribution of exams.

Teachers Service Commission CEO Nancy Macharia was in Mombasa County. Kenya National Examination Council (KNEC) CEO David Njengere opened the containers in Wajir and Mandera Counties while the Kenya Institute of Curriculum Development (KICD) CEO Charles Ongondo was in Vihiga County.

In the South Rift region, governors provided vehicles and personnel to support the transportation of examination materials to various centres.

According to Kericho Governor Erick Mutai, the Council of Governors (CoG), resolved to help in ensuring the national examination run smoothly.

Speaking after witnessing the commencement of the English Paper 1 examination at Soliat Boys High school in Soin/Sigowet Constituency, Dr Mutai, who chairs the CoG Education Committee, disclosed that all 47 county chiefs agreed to support the exercise.

A spot check by The Saturday Standard in the South Rift region showed that governors provided at least two vehicles, ambulances, and officials to help in case of emergencies.

At the same time, the Regional Rift Valley Commissioner Mohamed Maalim said a multi-agency team in the region is involved in fighting examination malpractice.

Speaking in Rongai, Nakuru County during the distribution of exam materials, Maalim said the move has ensured zero cases of cheating and other irregularities.

Unlike the just concluded Kenya Certificate of Primary Education (KCPE) and Kenya Primary School Education Assessment (KPSEA) exams, Maalim said they decided to distribute the exam materials at around 7 am as one of the measures in fighting cheating.

In the just concluded KCPE exams, one exam centre manager was arrested in Turkana for circulating the exam materials.

The case is being investigated by the DC and the suspect will be presented in court soon, said the administrator.

Maalim noted that they had received intelligence that a school in Nakuru was trying to cheat warning of drastic action against the institution and those involved.

He also called upon parents to accept the exam results and focus on guiding their children on the best courses to pursue based on their capabilities.

He confirmed the region was calm with no challenges related to insecurity as the examination began.

Elsewhere in Bomet, Education Officials in Bomet are keeping an eye on 83 pregnant girls who are sitting the exam.

In Transzoia County, the examination started without a hitch as county director of Education Luka Kangogo affirmed that all logistics were in place to facilitate a smooth running of the exercise.The county has a total of 23,852 candidates out of which 12,162 are boys while 11,690 are girls."In liaison with our county leadership, we have ensured that all our examination centres are served with enough vehicles and sufficient number of security personnel," he said.Kangogo further pointed out that all stakeholders have been briefed on all rules and regulations put in place by KNEC. He anticipated that the month-long exercise will run smoothly to the end since all necessary measures had been put in place to guarantee this.Kangogo said precautions had been made against exam cheating and hoped that such cases would not occur, noting that the county had never witnessed that even in the past.The county director of education said the deployed personnel would ensure efficiency and cheating is not expected. He added that examination officials are ready to deal with such cases in the event they unfold.The KCSE examinations come just two days after Standard Eight and Grade Six candidates completed their KCPE and KPSEA examinations, respectively. A total of 1,287, 597 Grade Six candidates were assessed while 1,244,188 KCPE candidates wrote their final exams to close their journey in primary school.

KCSE examination will end two days before Christmas on December 23.

[Nikko Tanui, Yvonne Chepkwony, Gilbert Kimutai and Martin Ndiema]