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Long wait for schools and students for verdict on KCPE, KCSE complaints

 KCSE exam papers at an examination center in Iten, Elgeyo Marakwet County. [Christopher Kipsang, Standard]

Aggrieved candidates who sat the 2023 KCPE and KCSE exams and contested their results will wait longer for the verdict.

The verdict may potentially impact their university choice.

It is now emerging that the National Examinations Appeals Tribunal, tasked with reviewing such grievances, operates at a glacial pace, requiring up to 60 days to handle complaints lodged by schools and candidates arising from KCSE results.

However, the tribunal will only take up the cases after the Kenya National Examination Council (Knec) has delivered its findings and communicated the final results after another 60 days.

This means that the time required to process all complaints arising from KCSE exams will be 120 days from the day the complaint was lodged.

It also means that last year’s KCSE candidates who have contested the results released by Knec and have lodged formal complaints could know the final verdict on May 8.

This could potentially see the candidates affected during selection and placement to university by the Kenya Universities and Colleges Central Placement Service (KUCCPS).

For candidates challenging the results of the KCPE national examination, the tribunal has a window of 30 days to reach the verdict.

This could further mean that the decision reached by the tribunal will not help the student in placement to a secondary school of their choice even if the results are reviewed upward.

It could also delay some KCSE candidates in selection and placement to university.

These revelations are contained in the fine print of Section 40B of the Kenya National Examination Council Act of 2012 and reviewed in 2017.

The Act provides for establishing a Tribunal to be known as the National Examinations Appeals Tribunal.

According to the Act, the tribunal's role is to confirm, set aside, or vary a decision of the examination council or make such other order that it may consider appropriate.

Upon reaching its decision, the tribunal communicates its decision to the parties in writing within seven days from the decision date.

“The Tribunal shall have the power to summon witnesses, take evidence on oath or affirmation and order the production of documents,” reads the Act.

The Tribunal shall consist of - a chairperson, nominated by the Judicial Service Commission who shall be an advocate of the High Court of Kenya of at least 15 years standing.

Two persons nominated jointly by the associations for the time being representing head teachers and principals in the country; one person having at least 10 years’ experience in marking examinations; and one person nominated by the Technical and Vocational Education and Training Authority.

On Tuesday, Education Cabinet Secretary Ezekiel Machogu made appointments to the examination appeals tribunal.

The team will be led by Dr Wayne Mutua Kenneth as the chairperson for four years while the members are Virginia Wahome who is the chief principal of Kenya High School and Johnson Nzioka who represents the Kenya Primary School Heads Association.

Fred Nyambane Oanda will also be part of the team and will represent the Technical and Vocational Education Training(TVET).

The team will be tasked with deciding the fate of 2023 KCSE candidates who feel aggrieved by the decision of Knec.

While releasing the 2023 KCSE results on January 8, the Education CS said results for 4,109 candidates have been withheld by the examination council pending investigations.

Another four candidates, had their results canceled for reported impersonation.

Knec Chief Executive Officer David Njengere, revealed that the four candidates can lodge their grievances before the tribunal.

The tribunal’s lifeline, however, is blurred with a proposal by the Presidential Working Party on Education Reforms to collapse it.

In their recommendation, the Prof Raphael Munavu led task force, proposed the collapse of all tribunals in the education sector to create only one giant tribunal that will handle all complaints in the sector known as the Education Appeals Tribunal.

The tribunal would be formed under a new proposed law yet to be developed known as the Education Appeals Tribunal bill.

“As the name implies, the tribunal should hear all administrative issues in the education sector including appeals from the decision of the Teachers Service Commission review panel, appeals on examination from Knec decision, appeals on a decision by the council of universities and TVETs,” the presidential working party report reads.

The new tribunal composition will include the chairperson of the tribunal to be appointed by the Judicial Service Commission, Principal Secretaries in the Ministry of Education or their representatives, Teachers Service Commission Secretary oor their representative.

Other members include representatives of the Kenya Private Sector Alliance, a representative Council of Governors, representatives of Faith-based organizations, and three persons with background in law, education and finance; one of whom shall be a person with disability.

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