The rush to deliver credible examinations to 1.7 million candidates sitting Kenya Certificate of Primary Education and Kenya Certificate of Secondary Education is top of Ministry of Education agenda when schools open tomorrow for third term.
Education Cabinet Secretary Amina Mohammed has instructed regional coordinators of education to prepare their staffs for regional briefings on administration of the tests.
In a circular through Basic Education PS Belio Kipsang, the Ministry says that Kenya National Examination Council (Knec) has scheduled the regional briefings to start September 3, just a week after schools open.
“The meetings will be chaired by County Commissioners at the County level and Deputy County Commissioners at the Sub County level,” said Kipsang in a circular dated August 24.
Schools open tomorrow for Third term.
Ministry of Education has maintained that administration of the examinations will be smooth even as a teachers union threatened to disrupt the term over labour demands with the Teachers Servicer Commission (TSC).
The teacher’s employer has also stepped up the fight against examination irregularities by cautioning its staff that any teacher found to abet cheating will be sacked.
In a terse circular to all school heads, TSC Chief Executive Officer Nancy Macharia instructs heads of schools that they will play a crucial role in ensuring that the rules, regulations and guidelines governing the conduct of national examinations are strictly adhered to by all stakeholders.
Macharia cautioned that this term, there will be no room for errors in the running of the examinations.
“TSC relies on all teachers to ensure the successful completion of the forthcoming national examinations,” Macharia said in the August 10 circular to all secondary school principals, primary school head.
Education Cabinet Secretary Amina Mohammed said that there will be no activities this term and school heads instructed to create a peaceful studying environment.
It emerged that examination preparations monitoring will be enhanced starting this week with more media briefings lined up to update students teachers and parents on preparations.
Some 1.7 million candidates have been registered to sit the examinations this year. Of these, 1, 060, 703 will sit KCPE with 664, 585 sitting KCSE.
KCPE examinations will be done across 27, 161 canters while 10, 077 centres will host KCSE candidates.
Education PS Belio Kipsang announced that the government will release free education money in time to ensure smooth running of schools.
The Ministry of Education has disbursed Sh6.5 billion to Public Secondary Schools to meet the Free Day Secondary Education (DFSE) requirements for students for second term.
Disbursements are done under a 50:30:20 formula, with half the money sent during first term.
Amina said the government had fully send 30 per cent FDSE disbursements to secondary school accounts for second term.
She further said that the Ministry also cleared 11 per cent of the outstanding FDSE amounts out of the Sh22, 240 it owed students in public secondary schools during the 2017/18 financial year.
This means that schools are expecting only 20 per cent of the total amount.
“We shall ensure all monies are released so that school operations run well and examinations are not disrupted,” said Kipsang.
Sources at the Kenya National Examinations Council (Knec) hinted to the Standard that all preparations are on top gear with final touches being done to administer examinations.
Amina said that no school activities will be allowed this term and noted that the Ministry is pulling all stope to administer clean and events free examinations.
Top Ministry of Education officials held a week-long meeting to guard this year’s national examinations when schools open for Third Term.
The meeting sanctioned by Amina Mohammed discussed ways of implementing strategies to free schools from unrests as examination calendar nears.
Insiders say the stakeholders meeting was part of government’s efforts to ensure third term calendar runs smoothly for candidates to sit examinations.
Top of the agenda was to seek ways of implementing the Special Investigation Team report on school fires (2016) that listed various reasons that lead to burning of schools.
The Clare Omollo led report revealed major administrative flaws and criminal practices in schools, including drug abuse, radicalisation and homosexuality and asked the Ministry to act fast to avert further disruptions.
Kenya Secondary School Heads Association (Kessha) national chairman Kahi Indimuli said the meeting focused on the recommendations of the team and why they have not been implemented.
"Some of the recommendations are capital intensive while some should have been implemented by schools. We are looking at all ways to make schools secure and friendly for learning," said Indimuli.
Details of the top level meeting shows that Amina instructed the team to map initiatives of implementing the recommendation on school unrests as contained in the 2016 Ministry report.
The CS also wants the team to gauge progress made to date on the implementation of the recommendations to curb school unrests and to also identify possible policy and strategy gaps for recommendations to curb schools unrests.
The meeting came as Kenya National Union of Teachers (Knut) threatened to rally its members not to open schools next month.
The government is already reaching out to teachers unions to forestall a possible strike likely to disrupt learning and preparation of candidates for the forthcoming examinations.
TSC is held meetings with teachers unions and associations to craft an exit plan that would restore industrial harmony as schools open next month.
Macharia has already instructed school heads that they have a special duty to maintain, uphold and promote professionalism in the teaching service.
Macharia said part of these is ensuring that examinations are credible.
“We must guarantee that national examinations are conducted in a transparent and accountable manner in accordance with set standards and international best practices,” Macharia said in circular.