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Exams not militarised, says CS

Dinah Ondari and Mathew Ndung’u @PeopleDailyKe

The government yesterday denied accusations that it has militarised national examinations saying the State has an obligation to safeguard the integrity of the process.

Interior Cabinet secretary Fred Matiang’i defended the heavy presence of armed security and  government officials at examination centres as the Kenya certificate of Primary Education (KCPE) exam entered the second day.

Teachers unions and some parents complained that the presence of security and government officials in exam centres was putting an unnecessary pressure on students.

Yesterday, President Uhuru Kenyatta and Deputy President William Ruto led members of the Cabinet in visiting schools in different parts of the country.

The President visited Uhuru Gardens Primary school in Nairobi while Ruto witnessed the distribution of exam materials to candidates at Musa Gitau Primary School in Kiambu.

Yesterday, the chairman of the Kenya Union of Post Primary Education (Kuppet) Omboko Milemba termed the tours by government officials and presence of security at exam centres as “negative drama” which can put unnecessary pressure on and distract students.

He said the government should leave supervision and invigilation to the Kenya National Examinations Council (Knec).

“They (government) are the ones that told teachers and other people to stay away from exam centres. Why are they going against their own advice? They are just creating unnecessary tension and distraction,” said Milemba.

On Tuesday, Homa Bay MP Peter Kaluma wrote a protest letter to the Ministry of Education in which he accused the government officials of wasting tax payer’s money on “futile and costly visits” .

Intimidation

The letter addressed to the Education CS said the visits were creating a tense and intimidating environment for candidates.

“Police officers deployed to secure exams should not be in uniform especially within and around exam centres.

Their presence should be inconspicuous to candidates,” said the legislator.

But Matiang’i rubished the concerns saying the government was only offering support to the candidates as well as ensuring integrity of the exams.

“These are some of the silly things petty people engage in. We are only providing support to our children to do exams,” he said in Kilifi South where he supervised the opening of the Day Two KCPE exam container at the deputy county commissioner’s office.

He added: “This is the level of delivery and performance the people of Kenya expect of us. And we will deliver clean exams,” he said.

According to child psychologist Mercy Nzuki, such visits by high profile “outsiders” as students sit  exams may be distractive the students if they are not psychologically prepared to receive such visitors.

“The students are normally prepared for such visits but in the event they are not, it could be a distraction,” said Nzioki.

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