Meet­ing on ex­ams set for to­mor­row

Of­fi­cials to dis­cuss the way for­ward on KCPE and KCSE tests ahead of re­peat election

Daily Nation (Kenya) - - NATIONAL NEWS - BY OUMA WANZALA owan­­tion­

Stake­hold­ers have ex­pressed con­cern on learn­ers’ safety and dis­rup­tion of learn­ing in the in­sti­tu­tions

Ama­jor de­ci­sion on whether or not to close schools dur­ing the week of the fresh pres­i­den­tial elec­tions will be made dur­ing an ed­u­ca­tion stake­hold­ers meet­ing to­mor­row.

The meet­ing that will bring to­gether of­fi­cials from the Kenya Na­tional Ex­am­i­na­tions Coun­cil, Kenya In­sti­tute of Cur­ricu­lum De­vel­op­ment, Ed­u­ca­tion min­istry, and head­teach­ers of sec­ondary and pri­mary schools will look at a num­ber of op­tions.

Among the op­tions is to close all schools dur­ing the Oc­to­ber 17 polls or only close day schools and al­low board­ing in­sti­tu­tions to con­tinue with their ac­tiv­i­ties.

Schools re-opened for third term on Au­gust 28 and will close by Oc­to­ber 29 in or­der to al­low for the start of na­tional ex­am­i­na­tions. If stu­dents take the pe­riod as half term, they will only be in schools for a week be­fore of­fi­cially clos­ing.

This term is only nine weeks and all ac­tiv­i­ties such as prayer and vis­it­ing days, half-term breaks, sports, prize-giv­ing cer­e­monies and an­nual gen­eral meet­ings are not al­lowed in or­der to cut con­tact be­tween can­di­dates and out­siders. The new mea­sures were in­tro­duced to curb ex­am­i­na­tion cheat­ing.

The more than 23,000 pri­mary schools are used as polling sta­tions while some teach­ers train­ing col­leges and sec­ondary schools are used as tal­ly­ing cen­tres.

Teach­ers will also be re­cruited as pre­sid­ing of­fi­cers and deputies dur­ing the polls and are, there­fore, ex­pected to be away from schools for two or three days.

Kenya Sec­ondary Schools Heads As­so­ci­a­tion chair­man Kahi Indimuli said: “We are meet­ing other ed­u­ca­tion stake­hold­ers to de­lib­er­ate on the is­sue.”

Kenya Pri­vate Schools As­so­ci­a­tion Chief Ex­ec­u­tive Of­fi­cer Peter Ndoro said the na­ture of Kenyan pol­i­tics can­not al­low stu­dents to be in schools. “We can­not guar­an­tee the stu­dents’ safety in schools. We will have to close and come back to con­tinue with learn­ing,” he said.

How­ever, he asked politi­cians to avoid ac­tiv­i­ties that may jeop­ar­dise learn­ing in schools.

Kenya Na­tional Union of Teach­ers Sec­re­tary-gen­eral Wilson Sos­sion said schools must close to al­low stu­dents and teach­ers to par­tic­i­pate in the elec­tions.

“Stu­dents and teach­ers are vot­ers and there­fore en­ti­tled to par­tic­i­pate in the ex­er­cise,” said Mr Sos­sion.

The Teach­ers Ser­vice Com­mis­sion has also in­structed teach­ers who will be se­lected by the elec­toral com­mis­sion to help con­duct the poll to ob­tain writ­ten per­mis­sion.

The com­mis­sion’s CEO Nancy Macharia, in a cir­cu­lar dated Septem­ber 7 and ad­dressed to school heads and di­rec­tors of ed­u­ca­tion, said the writ­ten per­mis­sion will be is­sued by its county di­rec­tors.

“Teach­ers should be non-par­ti­san and are fur­ther re­quired to shun any acts that could lead to cases of real or per­ceived con­flict of in­ter­est in per­for­mance of their work,” she said while di­rect­ing in­sti­tu­tional ad­min­is­tra­tors to en­sure learn­ing is not dis­rupted.

“Ac­cord­ingly, teach­ers should be ad­e­quately su­per­vised dur­ing the elec­tion­eer­ing pe­riod. In par­tic­u­lar, they will be re­quired to re­main at their work sta­tion through­out,” she said in the cir­cu­lar.

The of­fi­cial also di­rected school heads to en­sure safety of learn­ers un­der their care and school prop­erty in the event the in­sti­tu­tions are used as polling or tal­ly­ing cen­tres.

Prac­ti­cals for some of the Kenya Cer­tifi­cate of Sec­ondary Ed­u­ca­tion ex­am­i­na­tion sub­jects will start as early as Oc­to­ber 23. Ac­cord­ing to the timeta­bles al­ready sent out to schools, Kenya Cer­tifi­cate of Pri­mary Ed­u­ca­tion ex­am­i­na­tion will be­gin on Oc­to­ber 31 and end on Novem­ber 2 while KCSE the­ory pa­pers will start on Novem­ber 6 and end on Novem­ber 29.

There are 312,000 teach­ers across the coun­try with 5,916 ex­am­in­ers hav­ing been iden­ti­fied for KCPE and 21,828 ex­am­in­ers for KCSE.

More than 23,000 pri­mary schools will be used as polling sta­tions out of the to­tal 40,800 polling cen­tres.

Knec is also work­ing around the clock to en­sure the KCPE re­sults are re­leased on time.

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