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Parents collude with teachers to register Grade 7 pupils for KCPE

 Education CS Ezekiel Machogu (right) with his PS Belio Kipsang look at admission documents at St. George's Girls' School in Nairobi on February 6, 2023. [Denish Ochieng, Standard]

Primary school head teachers are in a spot for enrolling learners in Standard Eight instead of admitting them to Grade Seven.

It has emerged that some heads are falsifying school records to enable them transfer learners from the new 2-6-6-3 education system to 8-4-4.

Some parents have also been roped in the deal with a number of them attempting to obtain new birth certificates for their children to facilitate the transfers malpractice.

The shocking revelation is contained in a Ministry of Education circular dated February 8 and sent to Regional Directors of Education and County Directors of Education.

In the circular, Basic Education PS Belio Kipsang said the bad practice of illegal transfers of Grade Seven learners to Standard Eight has now come to the attention of the ministry.

The circular is copied to PS State Department for Citizen Services, Teachers Service Commission (TSC) chief executive Dr Nancy Macharia, and chief executive Private Schools Association.

Under the new plan, parents and teachers connive to transfer Grade Seven children from one schools and admit them to Standard Eight in another school.

Kipsang said the ministry is aware of tricks employed by heads to help them register Grade Seven learners as candidates for the 2023 KCPE.

Part of the con game, the PS said, is falsifying birth records and biodata of Grade Seven learners to facilitate their transfers.

And at school level, it emerged that some heads are generating new learners' identification numbers known as Unique Personal Identifier (UPI).

Kipsang said that the practice 'presents a serious breach of ethics and integrity by schools.'

Education Cabinet Secretary Ezekiel Machogu on Tuesday cautioned schools and parents against registering Grade Seven learners to sit KCPE.

Machogu spoke when he held a virtual meeting with Regional Coordinators of Education, County Directors of Education and Subcounty Directors of Education.

In attendance was Kipsang, Director General, Dr Elyas Abdi and the Chief Executive Officer of National Council for Nomadic Education in Kenya (NACONEK), Dr Harun Yussuf.

Machogu said the government will not allow learners to sit an exam whose curriculum is different from the Competency-Based Curriculum (CBC).

The transfers essentially mean that the Grade Seven learners who are pioneers of the CBC under the 2-6-6-3 are now being transferred to complete their education under the 8-4-4 system.

Transferring the Grade Seven learners will disadvantage them since they will have to sit an exam they have not prepared for.

Under the 2-6-6-3 system, learners spend two years in nursery school, six in primary, another six in secondary and three in college.

Under CBC, learning activities lay emphasis on competencies and less emphasis on examinations.

The 8-4-4 system has been criticised for being exam-oriented.

This means that transferring Grade Seven learners to Standard Eight at this stage, presents an unfair chance for them to sit KCPE with those who have been taught through 8-4-4.

"It is illegal to facilitate transfers of Grade Seven students to other schools and presenting them as Standard Eight," Kipsang said.

The PS has also directed education regional officers to validate all registration data for KCPE and point out any abnormal increase in candidates against the 2022 enrolment data.

"The officers are instructed to liaise with the officers from State Department for Citizen Services on issues of birth certificate issuance that is abnormal," said Kipsang.

He added: "Any school found to engage in such malpractice must be reported to this office for action."

It also emerged that a number of school heads are still charging illegal levies, frustrating the free education policy and stifling transition to Junior Secondary.

Machogu has instructed education officers to ensure administrators of public primary and secondary schools stop imposing illegal levies on parents and guardians.

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