George Kebaso @Morarak
The Kenya National Union of Teachers’ (Knut) yesterday rejected the just released Kenya Certificate of Secondary Education (KCSE) examination results within 24 hours of the announcement by Education Cabinet secretary Fred Matiang’i.
The union has also demanded for immediate recall of the results. “A thorough audit has to be conducted by a team of experts on measurement and evaluation for Kenyans to know the truth,” Knut Secretary General Wilson Sossion said in a statement to newsrooms.
Sossion said the release of the 2017 KCSE results before the mandatory moderation process was a blunder that amounted to fraud. He claimed this had led to students’ “mass failure”.
Out of 615,773 candidates who sat for this year’s KCSE, a five per cent increase from last year’s 577,253 candidates, 575,700 will not join public universities. Nasa leader Raila Odinga called for a taskforce to probe the matter. He said in recent years, the country has witnessed low transition rates from high school to university.
“The government must listen to the cries of candidates, parents and teachers’ unions on this matter and immediately set up a taskforce to inquire into this worrying trend of very low transition to university,” said Raila.
From the released results, only 70,073 candidates attained university entry mean grade of C+, with 142 candidates attaining As. The Knut boss said the results did not meet international standards of measurements and evaluation.
“We call on the Kenya National Examinations Council (Knec) to recall the KCSE exam results to allow for thorough auditing and moderation,” said Sossion. He said it was shameful for the country to fail to supply the required 95,000 students to universities and could only supply 70,000. “What happens with the remaining 25,000 available places? Are the 600,000 candidates total zombies?” he posed.
He said there was need for fresh processing of raw marks which has to be conducted so as to deliver credible results. This is the second time Knut is rejecting the release of national examinations.
Last year, after Matiang’i announced the 2016 KCSE results, the teachers’ union demanded a recall. Sossion said then, the union was convinced that due process had not been followed. He argued that the results did not reflect the true performance of the candidates, citing clear breaches of marking processes that were overlooked by Knec. “We were shocked at the curve. It is not a normal curve.
So we launched investigations and we have consulted widely, even inside government, and the narrative is the same, that these results are not a true reflection of candidates’ performance,” said Sossion. Last year, 88, 929 attained university entry grades, while 141 got As.
The overall number of candidates with minimum university entry qualification of Grade C+ and above stands at only 11.38 per cent according to Wednesday’s results. However, Raila hailed the continued run of good performance by girls over boys in the national examinations.
“I encourage them to stay the course,” said Raila. He also congratulated all the candidates — both girls and boys — who excelled in this year’s examinations for realising their dreams that are intertwined with the country’s hopes.
“We congratulate the teachers and the schools for the exemplary performance they have recorded, besides the improvements at Knec that have seen a reduction in cheating and speedy release of results,” he added.
Experts think the sharp reduction in top grades will raise questions as to how the Kenya Universities and Colleges Central Placement Service (KUCCPS) — the body charged with admitting students to public universities — will allocate coveted courses such as medicine, architecture, engineering, computer science and actuarial science.