More than 615, 000 students commenced writing their Kenya Certificate of Secondary Education (KCSE) examination yesterday amid government assurance that stringent measures have been put in place to ensure a more efficient and credible exercise.
On the first day, calls for toning down of political activities heightened with education stakeholders saying candidates should be accorded the respect to allow them to write the exam in a conducive environment and without interference.
Education Cabinet secretary Fred Matiang’i led other government officials in supervising the distribution of the first examination papers across the country; Mathematics Paper 1 and Chemistry Paper 1 which was done in the afternoon.
The CS officially opened the examination container at the Kericho County Offices before the examination papers were distributed to various centres. The exam is being administered in 9,350 centres and supervised by 21,828 examiners.
Matiang’i was upbeat that the examination would run smoothly until the last day and stated that they had ensured the examination papers got to schools at the right time.“We have weather challenges as we administer this examination.
There are rains across the country but we are fully prepared to deal with these challenges so that we deliver the exam materials in some parts of Kenya on time,” the CS said.
He also said security officers are prepared to deal with issues that might interfere with the examinations.“We are using Kenya Defence Forces (KDF) officers to move the examination materials to insecurity prone areas such as in North Eastern regions.
We are also airlifting examination materials to some parts there.” Kenya National Examinations Council (Knec) chairman Prof George Magoha was in Murang’a, where he affirmed that stringent measures have been put in place to ensure there would be no hitches adding that Knec and other education stakeholders are well prepared to ensure a flawless exam period.
Magoha warned Opposition leaders against demonstrations, saying they should not dare disrupt students sitting their exam. “The candidates will take their exams as planned and we will not entertain any political activity that will interfere with this process,” he said.
He said the candidates should be accorded due respect as they write their examination since they do not belong to any political affiliation. “I do not think there is any sane person who would dare interfere with the examination of our children.
They do not belong to any political party and they are the future of this country,” added Magoha. “We have helicopters stationed in Coast specifically Kwale which is most affected, another one in Wajir and Turkana. In areas where there is steep terrain, choppers are on standby if the vehicles are unable to deliver the exam papers,” Magoha said.
Opposition leader, Raila Odinga wished all KCSE candidates well and encouraged them to take heart and believe that the success they have been wished is not just for their individual gain but for future generations.
In Mombasa, Education Principal secretary Belio Kipsang envisioned better performance from this year’s candidates, saying that last year’s paradigm shift in national exam management was a lesson learnt and a warning signal to the 615, 773 who have since prepared adequately for the exams. Similarly, KDF have been deployed to guard examination in schools located in the terror-hit areas of Lamu West and Tana River county.
The military will secure exam in schools within Boni forest enclave and those in neghbouring areas. Among them are Witu, Mkokoni and Kiunga secondary schools. In Naivasha, 22 inmates at the local GK Prison are sitting the exam.
Despite various challenges, the inmates who included eight serving life sentence were confident they would perform well. In Homa Bay, a candidate was forced to take his papers in a police cell over accusations of killing.
The boy was reportedly arrested after he attacked and chopped off his neighbour’s hand at Kadika village in Rachuonyo South sub-county in March. In Kisumu, 20 inmates are sitting the exam at Kodiaga Main Prison and are also hopeful for good results. It was a smooth start in almost all examination centres in the country despite the challenging weather conditions.