KCPE exam kicks off amid tight security

File image of KCPE candidates
File image of candidates sitting national exam. PHOTO| COURTESY

Education Cabinet Secretary Fred Matiang’i on Tuesday morning witnessed the opening of exam papers at Kiringili Primary school, Vihiga County as the KCPE examinations kicked off this morning.

This year a total of 952,473 candidates are expected to sit the exams across the country.

The government has also moved to re-assure the candidates that adequate logistical and security measures had been put in place to ensure a smooth exercise.

The Kenya National Examinations Council also banned the use of the usual clipboards and geometrical sets, with candidates now being required to carry their geometrical instruments and writing materials in see-through plastic bags.

In Kirinyaga County, at least 11,539 pupils will sit their standard 8 exams today (Tuesday) with the county director of education, Elizabeth Karani, affirming that it is all systems go in all sub counties.

In Siaya County, the provincial administration banned discos and live bands during the exam period in a bid to give the candidates and ample time concentrate on their revision.


Meanwhile, at the country’s largest penal institution, Naivasha GK Prison, 55 inmates some serving life sentences are sitting this year’s KCPE exam.

This marks the highest number of inmates who have sat for the exams in the penal institution since the education programme started in 2000.

Among those who sat for the exams was 21-year-old Samson Wafula who was serving death sentence until last week when the president commuted the sentence to life.

Wafula, who was jailed for murder, was optimistic that they would perform well in the national exams as they had been well prepared.

“I did not get a chance to undertake my KCPE exams but I thank the prison department for giving me a second chance,” he said.

The oldest candidate, Stephen Muria, 64, who is serving 12 years thanked the prison management for the education programme.

According to the prison welfare officer Mose Kodek, they are optimistic that the inmates would perform well, noting that the prison department had continued to support the education programme fully.

At the Kitui GK Prison, ten inmates are among the 952,472 candidates who started their Kenya Certificate of Primary Education (KCPE) exams countrywide today (Tuesday).

According to the prison’s duty officer Mr Joseph Kioko, the candidates were well prepared for the national exams.

“We engaged two trained teachers who have prepared the candidates adequately for the KCPE examination. We believe they will perform excellently,” Kioko said.

Initially 15 inmates, all male, registered for the exam but two were released following a presidential pardon, taking the number down to 10

Benjamin Mutua, a 45-year-old who is also a candidate in this year’s exam, exuded confidence he would perform well and eventually join secondary school.

Exam Procedure

This year, for the first time, exam materials will be stored in metallic containers and not in armories in police stations as was the case before.

The 346 containers that have already been distributed across the country will be guarded by police officers around the clock, and only sub-county commissioners and county directors of education will have keys to the storage facilities.

Early every morning head teachers of all schools will collect the examination materials from the containers in their sub-counties and return the scripts to the containers at the end of the day.

These measures were implemented after the results of over 7000 primary school candidates were cancelled over irregularities last year.

KCPE exams are scheduled to end on Thursday, while the written Kenya Certificate of Secondary Education Examinations (KCSE) are set to begin on Monday 7th November 2016.

The candidates started with the mathematics paper, followed by English language and English composition tests later in the afternoon.

They will on Wednesday sit for science, Kiswahili Lugha, and Kiswahili Insha papers in the morning and conclude with social studies and religious education paper on Thursday.

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Story By Wangui Ngechu
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