The government has changed the mode of collection of national examination papers that will be administered to the 2023 KCSE, KCPE and KPSEA exam candidates.
Education CS Ezekiel Machogu announced on Wednesday that the examination papers will be collected twice a day instead of once a day that has been the norm.
This means that the paper to be done in the morning will be collected in the morning at the various containers across the country.
Then the afternoon paper will be collected in the afternoon.
“This is to minimise the chances of the papers being exposed to learners before they sit for it to curb cheating,” Machogu said.
He spoke at the 46th Kessha annual national conference at Sheikh Zayed Hall in Mombasa.
This came after Kenya Secondary School Heads Association chairman Indimuli Kahi asked the Kenya National Examination Council to assure the principals that there will be no leakage of examination papers in 2023.
“That is something that as a nation, we must answer together. Why do we see resemblance of examination papers flying around in mobile phones before that paper is sat for by the candidates?” Kahi posed.
“Where is this paper coming from? If it is from us, then we stand accused. Because we have been accused of doing the same before,” he said.
Kahi said he went to Swaziland and saw how the national examinations are being administered in the small country and was impressed and challenged at the same time.
“In Swaziland, the principals are given a whole week’s papers which they put under their custody,” he said.
“Is it possible that this can happen in Kenya? These are the questions we must have answers to as Kenyans.”
However, Basic Education PS Belio Kipsang said this is a matter of trust.
Kipsang said the deficit of trust in the country makes it a challenge to copy countries like Swaziland.
“If we deal with the trust deficit, we can even give a whole month’s papers,” the PS said.
It is this trust deficit that also makes students go on the rampage and destroy schools, although he acknowledged this is gradually coming down.
Kipsang said it is disheartening to note that it is only during national exams that teachers and students have to have armed security officers behind them when it comes to assessment.
He said principals must be able to tackle the problems that youth have so as to create a level of trust between them and the students.
“What is it that we have done to earn the trust of the students? Why is it that doctors go into an operating theatre without armed security? Why is it that lawyers go to court without armed policemen? Why is it only when we are assessing students?” Kipsang posed.
He also noted that it is only during the national exams that this happens.
During the school-based internal exams, nothing of the sort is witnessed, he said.
At the same time, Kessha chairperson Indimuli Kahi said the grading of students has to be reviewed arguing that the current system disadvantages the students.
He noted that today, grading is done with six compulsory subjects including Math, English, Swahili, two sciences and a humanity subject.
In the past, there were only four compulsory subjects that contributed towards a student’s grade.
For instance, he noted, today, English grammar and literature are lumped together whereas in the past, this was separated.
Kahi argued that there are students with good grammar but have difficulties in analysing literature.
“But this student who is good in English grammar fails to make the medicine grade because they failed in literature. Are we being fair to this student?” Kahi posed.