Biology paper one KCSE examiner collapses, dies in Nairobi; KNEC to meet KUPPET over grievances

Knec Chief Executive Officer Dr Mercy Karogo at a past event.
Knec Chief Executive Officer Dr Mercy Karogo at a past event.

An examiner in this year’s Kenya Certificate of Secondary Education, KCSE, has died. The examiner in Biology Paper one collapsed and was pronounced dead on arrival at Kikuyu hospital. The examiner identified as Veronicah Wanjiku collapsed while marking at Lenana High school in Nairobi. The cause of her death is yet to be established.

This comes even as teachers staged go slows last week over what they termed as low pay and poor working conditions. Teachers marking Business studies where the first ones to down tools on Monday citing low pay. It took the intervention of the top KNEC brass to cool the teachers at Machakos Girls.

On Wednesday, their physics paper 3 examiners followed suit. The teachers wanted the council to increase their payment rates per script from Sh46 to Sh80; among other grievances. After three days of pushing and shoving, KNEC promised to increase their pay Sh52 per paper marked.

The Council has scheduled a meeting with the Kenya Union of Post Primary Education Teachers, KUPPET, on this coming Tuesday to chat the way forward. The meeting comes after the Council agreed to adjust the payment rates per script for all subjects. KNEC has already promised to harmonize payments for all papers effective 2020.

The teachers have always raised such issues as: poor pay, Congestion, low quality meals, tough regulations and long working hours. In fact, in some marking centres the teachers must wake up at 5am and retire to bed at 11pm.

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The KCSE exams are marked via a belt system; where a candidate’s script passes through several teachers who mark different questions. Team leaders and Assistant Chief examiners then sample some scripts from each group of markers for moderation. This is done so as to achieve high accuracy in awarding marks. An examiner can mark up to 1,500 scripts. Apart from this, the examiners also receive a Coordination fee, fare reimbursement and a basic fee (which is a flat rate)

This year, the Council has engaged the services of over 26,000 markers. 

Last week photographs of examiners sharing beds and some sleeping on the floor due to congestion at the marking centres were trending online.

The Education CS Prof George Magoha promised to release the results before Christmas (December 25th). Last year (2018) the results were released on Friday 21st December.

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