Education Cabinet Secretary Prof George Magoha during the launch of the New Competency Based Curriculum training exercise at Uhuru Gardens Primary School, Nairobi, on Tuesday 23rd April, 2019
Education Cabinet Secretary Prof George Magoha during the launch of the New Competency Based Curriculum training exercise at Uhuru Gardens Primary School, Nairobi, on Tuesday 23rd April, 2019 Photo/ File

Education Cabinet Secretary Prof George Magoha met with senior education officials on Monday 24th June, 2019 to assess preparedness ahead of the 2019 National tests. Among other issues highlighted, the CS ordered the 2019 Kenya Certificate of Education, KCPE, candidates to revise their form one selections by August this year. Here is what Prof Magoha said during the meeting that brought together top Ministry officials;

‘With three months remaining before the start of the 2019 national examinations, the Ministry is today launching a sustained stakeholder sensitisation and engagement campaign which will involve the Multi-Sectoral Approach involving relevant ministries and departments.

This year, a total of 1,788,731 candidates will sit the Kenya Certificate of Primary Education (KCPE) and Kenya Certificate of Secondary Education (KCSE). Of these, 1,088,986 will sit the KCPE while 699,745 will sit the KCSE.
Over the past three years, the Ministry has been on an effective and sustained campaign to enhance the credibility of national examinations in Kenya through the adoption of new measures aimed at alleviating irregularities.

Through a multi-sectoral approach of management – encompassing the Ministries of Education, Teachers Service Commission (TSC), Interior and Coordination of National Government and ICT-the Government has commendably managed to deliver as one, since 2016, in a manner that has led to the KCPE and KCSE examination results that are credible and of high integrity.

The Ministry wishes to thank all government agencies, including the entire Cabinet led by His Excellency President Uhuru Kenyatta, for working together on this noble process in our national calendar.

I wish to assure the country that the script of managing the examinations this year will contain a few enhanced measures aimed at sealing off minor loopholes that
criminals attempted to use last year to attempt to introduce cheating mainly at the KCSE examination.

These criminals were responsible for last year’s cancellation of KCSE results for 3,427 candidates in 44 centres from 16 counties in the country.

Arising from the 2018 KCSE results, we realised that some people were determined to go to all extents to force innocent candidates to engage in collusion in examinations leading to patterns of similar wrong responses to questions during the examination papers.
Our investigations, for example, discovered cases in mathematics where candidates’ had identical errors in calculations or correct responses after incorrect working. In practicals, there were cases where a group of candidates would have identical wrong readings in science practicals.

The findings of our investigation point fingers at officials who must have relaxed rules of the examinations management. This must be addressed this year. In addition to previous measures, we wish to announce the following:
1). The Ministry has increased the number of examinations containers to 479 from last year’s 459. This will help us to shorten distances in select regions where moving examination materials to long distances exposed the materials to the unscrupulous individuals.
2). Ahead of the examinations season in Third Term, the Ministry-through all field
officers – will engage in a robust pre-monitoring exercise to sensitise all schools in the country against cheating in national examinations. This exercise follows
reports that some schools intend to use all means to cheat in the examinations, including through early exposure of question papers and collusion among candidates and teachers.
3). Using premonitoring data, and based on last year’s feedback reports, the Ministry will map out the trouble spot areas, including structures and buildings within and around schools that will be put under scrutiny before and during the
examinations.
4). Working with the Multisectoral Team on examinations, the Government will
extend security surveillance around examination centres beyond the school
compounds up to a radius of two kilometres. This is based on a discovery last year that some examination materials would be sneaked to teachers’ quarters, kiosks and buildings around some centres.
5). Identification details of support staff who provide necessary services at examination centres such as catering and security must be presented to Centre
Supervisors at the start of the national examinations. The aim is to curb cases where some individuals mask and style themselves as school staff providing
essential services only for them to assist in collusion.
6). All Centre Managers must ensure that teachers who attend to practicals during the KCSE are registered with the Teachers Service Commission.
7). Examination materials MUST not be transported to and from examination centres without the presence of security officers using government vehicles.
8). The process of opening examination papers in front of examination rooms must
be witnessed by candidates, security, an invigilator and supervisor to ensure that no mistake is made to open the wrong scripts. This is meant to address cases where officials open scripts before the scheduled time.
9). Centre managers are encouraged to make prior arrangements with health
facilities contracted under the EduAfya Health Insurance Scheme with the National Hospital Insurance Fund to ensure emergency health services for candidates are available to schools during the period of the examinations.

The Ministry is also determined to make the 2019 Form One selection process more effective and efficient. Over time, the Ministry has realised that some candidates wish to revise their Form One selection choices in Term Two after having effectively assessed their likely KCPE potential based on class assessments.

To respond to this, I have today directed KNEC to immediately open a window to allow candidates who are already registered to revise their Form One choices. I expect the Council to provide guidelines on the revision exercise to ensure it is completed by Friday, August 2, 2019.

The Ministry wishes to advise teachers and candidates to adequately revise for the 2019 examinations by effectively covering the syllabus and conducting thorough revision.

As has been the case since 2016, the national examinations will never be leaked whatsoever, allowing all candidates to access the questions on the dates and time indicated on the timetables which have already been published.

The Ministry will do everything in its powers to protect the sanctity of national examinations at all times.