This man Matiang’i! A preview of his successful & unsuccessful policies, reforms, at the Education docket

Dr. Fred Okengo Matiang’i was on 24 November 2015, appointed as the cabinet secretary for Education by President Uhuru Kenyatta, in a cabinet reshuffle. During his tenure at the Education docket, Matiang’i saw the introduction of far reaching radical changes. Some of the changes were unsuccessful but most were successful.


  1. Radical changes at the Kenya National Examinations Council:

Matiang’i saw the introduction of new changes to safeguard the integrity of National examinations. Some of those changes that have brought sanity at the Council include:

  • Procurement of additional containers for Storage of examination materials. The CS procured 67 additional containers to secure the exam papers in new Sub Counties and in other vast areas whose terrain called for additional containers. Installation of the containers at the Sub Counties was completed by July 30, 2017.
  • Free Registration of all Candidates. The government currently pays all the registration fees for all candidates sitting national examinations in KCPE and KCSE.
  • Centre managers during exams: Deputy head teachers now remain in schools to assist their head teachers who act as centre managers. However, where a school has more than one deputy, only one of the deputies can be in the school at any given time. all school heads are  in charge of their examination centres and shall are held personally responsible for the cheating cases reported in their institutions.
  • Exam areas out of bounds for other teachers. Teachers remain out of the examination area. To limit contact between students and outsiders, and reduce disturbances during examination period, Matiang’i banned all non-academic activities during third term. However, teachers involved in practical subjects stay in school to prepare for the practicals, only when the exam is taking place.
  • Disbanding KNEC Board. Matiang’i disbanded the Kenya National Examination Council (KNEC) Board, with the subsequent sacking of nine board members, after it was accused of abetting exam irregularities. Prof. George Magoha was appointed the new Council chairman as Ms. M.G. Karogo was appointed the acting Chief Executive Officer.
  • Early release of results. In December, Matiang’i caught the country by surprise after releasing the 2016 examination results abruptly without prior notice contrary to the tradition where the marks were announced after the Christmas holiday.
  • Compressed examination period: the Kenya National Examination Council has since condensed the KCSE calendar to 30 days. while, the KCPE exams calendar has been condensed to 3 days. Marking days have also been greatly reduced.
examination Container in Kenya
examination Container in Kenya

2. Rationalization of Schools calendar.

The school calendar was harmonized. Term 1 and 2 to have 14 weeks and 9 weeks for term 3 for forms 1,2 and 3.

3. Restructuring Form One Candidates selection

The CS also introduced a new schedule of Form One candidate selection which starts a week after the release of the results. The candidates also report to their respective schools on January, as opposed to earlier years where the exercise happened in February.

4. Intoduction of NEMIS:

The ministry, from January this year, introduced a unique personal identifier (UPI), which is used to submit enrollment data.

5. Formulation of a new Teachers’ Evaluation method:

The TSC introduced the mandatory performance contract and appraisals. TSC said the Performance Contracting (PC) and Teacher Performance Appraisal and Development (TPAD) will continue to be rolled out

6. Restructuring of university learning

  • Every university will be expected to prepare and submit to the Commission an annual report in a prescribed format.
  • CUE will work with universities to convert the school-based courses into quality part-time programmes with sufficient opportunities for research and contact between the learners and their lecturers.
  • Universities to ensure that class sizes and staff to student ratios are within the allowable limits, as provided for in the Standards and Guidelines.

7. Delocalizarion of schools heads: 

Headteachers and principals will not serve in the same school for more than nine years. School heads and deputy schools heads will be required to be holders of a Bachelor of Education degree while principals and deputy principals must possess a Masters degree. Already, the Teachers Service Commission has rolled out the contentious delocalization exercise, with the Kenya National union of Teachers, KNUT, vehemently opposing it.

8. Waiver of school fees and increasing government subsidy to Free Secondary Education and Free Primary education: In the new fees structure, all students in day secondary school are entitled to a Sh22,240 capitation from the government. This is because the government announced it has increased capitation per child by some Sh9,374 per year, bringing to Sh22,244, the total amount the state will now release per child per year in all secondary schools. Read more details here…

9. The directive on the painting of school buses.

All school buses have been painted yellow according to the new regulations, introduced by the Cabinet Secretary.

Yellow paited school bus
Yellow painted school bus

10. New Textbooks Policy:

Matiang’i saw the implementation of the new textbooks policy where each form one student  receives six books on opening day. Under this policy, each Form One student reporting to public schools is supplied with six books on the core subjects of mathematics, English, Kiswahili, biology, chemistry and physics. The government now directly procures the textbooks as opposed to the earlier dispensation where money for the textbooks was wired to schools for them to in turn purchase the books.


  1. Consolidation of primary and secondary schools’ leadership.

Plans to consolidate leadership of primary and secondary schools that share a compound never took off. According to the plans, only one school head was to manage the two institutions, with two deputies appointed to each wing.

2. Periodic Meetings for teachers in the same subject area:

Additionally, teachers of the same subject area were to be required to hold meetings to improve performance. Subject teachers in an institution would hold meetings on specific days in a week to discuss and find solutions to issues that affect teaching and learning in their subjects. Teachers from different schools within the same locality were also hold formal structured sessions to address performance gaps in subject areas.

3. Roll out the new 2-6-3-3 curriculum.

Roll out of the new education system to replace the 8-4-4 system has had a rocky start with its roll out now pushed to 2019. Read more details here…

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