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Back to School: Learners report back ahead of tight academic calendar

 Students traveling to various schools within the country straggle to book a ticket at the Charangani Traveling Sacco stage in Eldoret Uasin Gishu County. [Peter Ochieng, Standard]

Both primary and secondary schools are reopening this week for the final term of the academic calendar, which is anticipated to be the shortest and busiest.

However, the reopening of schools brings forth a new concern for parents, as they prepare to face the challenge of heightened fees and additional charges.

Institutions are resuming classes after a two-week break, and this term is scheduled to last for approximately two months, concluding at the end of October.

During this period, candidates sitting for the Kenya Certificate of Primary Education (KCPE) and Kenya Certificate of Secondary Education (KCSE) exams will also be taking their assessments.

In addition, Grade Six learners following the Competency-Based Curriculum (CBC) will also be undergoing assessments as this term marks the conclusion of the last cohort of KCPE students under the 8-4-4 system, which has now been phased out.

2.3m million

As per data provided by the Kenya National Examination Council (KNEC), approximately 2.3 million candidates are scheduled to participate in this year's KCPE and KCSE examinations.

In an interview with The Standard, the agency's Chief Executive Officer, David Njengere, said the process of creating examination papers had been completed and would be conducted in accordance with the established timelines.

Njengere stated, "Candidate registration has been concluded across the entire country, the formulation of examination papers has been successfully accomplished, and the examinations will be administered as per the predetermined timetable."

A circular issued by the Ministry of Education in January outlined that the KCPE and Kenya Primary School Education Assessment (KPSEA) will commence on October 30 and conclude on November 2.

KPSEA is designed to evaluate students' accomplishments during their time in primary school. However, it will not serve as a determining factor for their progression to junior school.

This development arises from the modifications introduced by the Presidential Working Party on Education Reforms, which now permit students to transition seamlessly from primary to junior school without requiring an assessment or examination.

Pioneer class

The current cohort undertaking the KPSEA assessment represents the second batch of CBC students who will proceed to junior school. This shift comes as the pioneering CBC class moves on to Grade 8.

The KCSE exams are scheduled to take place from November 3 to November 24, with the subsequent marking process set to commence on November 27 and conclude on December 15, as indicated in the circular.

According to data released by Knec, a total of 1,415,315 candidates are slated to sit for the KCPE exams, while an additional 903,260 students will sit for the KCSE papers.

This marks an increase in primary education candidates, as compared to the 1,233,852 students who took the KCPE exams in 2022, signifying a rise of 181,463 candidates. This figure represents the highest number of registered candidates in recent years.

While some 884,263 candidates sat for the 2022 KCSE exam, making an increase of 18,997 students.

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