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Why KCPE exam may be here to stay

By Augustine Oduor | December 4th 2020


Education CS George Magoha addresses pupils of Langas Primary School in Eldoret last month. [File, Standard]

The Kenya Certificate of Primary Education (KCPE) examination may not be scrapped after all, as it is emerging that the government may face hiccups in placing students in secondary schools.

The Standard has established that even as the government abolished Grade Six end of primary education examination, questions have arisen as to what criteria will be used to allocate students space in secondary schools.

It is also emerging that the category of schools to host junior secondary and senior secondary students still remains unclear, even as stakeholders generally agreed that this level of education be domiciled in high school.

The matter is complicated further by the fact that the last batch of 8-4-4 system will join Form One at the time Competency Based Curriculum (CBC) pioneers will also be enrolling for junior secondary school.

And whether value-based learning will be integrated in the general learning activities taught in class is still a major sticky issue, as religious groups push for specific subjects to be taught on values such as love, unity and honesty.

The details emerged as a team appointed by Education Cabinet Secretary George Magoha retreated to write a final report that would seal the fate of KCPE examination before the Christmas break.

The task-force, led by Fatuma Chege, who is Kenyatta University Deputy Vice Chancellor in charge of Administration, will today brief Prof Magoha on the three issues ahead of the final report.

Term expiring

The team, whose term is expiring, is drawn from key sectors and is expected to undertake critical analysis of the national rollout of the new curriculum and advise on key implementation issues.

Broadly, the team is expected to advice on policy and legal issues necessary for effective implementation of curriculum reforms, including a framework on the working relationship between the national and county governments on the implementation of the pre-primary education curriculum

On examinations and transition, senior Kenya National Examinations Council officials have been summoned to participate in the task-force retreat as the place of assessments is fully discussed and rested ahead of the final report.

Sources in the committee yesterday said Magoha instructed the task-force to draw convincing criteria that would be used to place the children to secondary schools.

Transition roadmap

The CS also wants a clear transition roadmap and how the junior secondary and senior secondary schools will be domiciled in high schools.

“These are the three sticky issues that must be addressed and once done, the team will write a report as the term is also coming to an end,” said a well-placed committee member.

Under the new 2–6–3–3–3 education system, learners will spend two years in pre-primary education, six in primary, three in junior secondary and another three in senior secondary school.

The present Grade Four, the pioneer learners under the CBC are expected to exit primary education in 2022 and join junior secondary school in 2023.

In the same year­­, learners in the present Standard Six under the 8–4–4 education system will sit the Kenya Certificate of Primary Education (KCPE) examination and get admitted into Form One in 2023.

It emerged that education stakeholders and members of the CBC task-force are split on the fate of end of KCPE examination, with questions raised on the criteria that would be used to place learners to secondary schools.

Officials not convinced

Insiders hinted that top Ministry of Education officials were also not convinced that the KCPE examination should be scrapped and tasked the task-force to come up with tangible solutions to the issue.

Speaking during the education stakeholders’ conference in August last year, Uhuru abolished the KCPE examination under the new education system to allow 100 per cent transition to secondary schools.

“How will we know that this learner will be admitted to this school for junior secondary level?” said one of the task-force members.

Presently, Form One placement has criteria based on merit, choice and affirmative action. “What will be used to place children to secondary schools if we do not have examinations?” asked a member of the task- force.

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