New exam dates set after strike
The just ended three weeks teachers’ strike has resulted to new examination, school closure and examination results release dates. Education Minister Mutula Kilonzo yesterday said the changes in examination dates for both KCPE and KCSE will allow all children to cover syllabus that they may not have covered during the strike.
The new dates will see both primary and secondary schools close on Friday 23 of November instead of Friday 2 November as scheduled earlier.
The minister’s move is a follow up to the cabinet decision last week seeking the extension of third term by three weeks following the disruption to learning by the striking teachers. The changes will also affect private schools where learning was not interrupted during the strike period.
The changes are meant to protect the right of our children as enshrined in article 53 (2) of the constitution, the minister said. “A child’s best interests are of paramount importance in every matter concerning the child,” the article states. He said consultations between KNEC, TSC and the Ministry of Education necessitated the changes. KCPE exams will be done on December 4, 5 and 6 instead of earlier dates of 13, 14 and 15 in November.
The marking and processing dates for 2012 KCPE will thereafter take place between December 7, 2012 to January 25, 2013. The results for 2012 KCPE will be released in January instead of December this time round, Mutula said.
The start for KCSE exams which was supposed to start on September 27 has now been moved to October 15, with assessment of orals while practicals will be done between October 25 and 30 instead of an earlier schedule of October 14 and 11.
Theory written papers which is the most visible and intense part of the KCSE exams will now be held between November 12 and December 11, while marking and processing and release of exams for 2012 KCSE examination will be carried out between December 13 and April 16, 2013 when the results the same will be announced. This is contrary to the normal end of February release of KCSE results in the new year.
The minister said he has already issued a gazette notice to effect the changes on old exam dates and replace them with new ones. The ripple effect of the three weeks strike further spilled over to affecting the term dates for 2013. Term 1 will start on Monday February 4, 2013 to Friday May 17, 2013.
Term 2 will start on Monday June 3 to Friday September 6, 2013, while Term 3 starts on Monday September 30, 2013 to Friday November 29, 2013.
The ministry of finance has been notified in advance of the new dates so that free learning cash disbursement to both primary school and secondary is relaxed in time for this third term.
Primary school require Sh1.8 billion while Free day secondary school funding for third term is Sh3.9 billion, “It is my hope that treasury will act urgently to avoid challenges associated with learning in 3rd term,” the minister said. KNEC, the minister said also requires Sh300 million to administer the exams.
Meanwhile, four committees within the Ministry of Finance are expected to state where the Sh13.5 billion meant to harmonize teachers salaries would come from.
Finance Minister Njeru Githae yesterday said that he appointed the committees during the teachers salaries strike crisis to explore ways of how funds would be mopped to pay teachers. “The committees are supposed to present their report on Friday,” Githae said.
The minister spoke shortly after signing an agreement to pay Kuppet teachers Sh13.5 billion of harmonized salaries. The minister on Sunday signed a similar agreement with Knut prompting it to call off the teachers strike on Monday.
According to Githae one of the committee is tasked with identifying taxation increment and sealing leakages in customs. He said the increased taxation and sealing leakages in customs tax, dumping and counterfeits goods are among areas the committee was looking into to raise funds. He added that income tax or VAT might be increased to raise the funds.
The second committee is detailed to explore possibilities for government to borrow money locally or from overseas sources. “This committee has to report on whether the two sources of borrowing are manageable and feasible,” Githae said.
The third option is tasked with a committee to explore austerity measures and establish whether there is room to cut ministries budgets in traveling, hospitality and grants.
Another committee would recommend on slowing down development projects that have not commenced. He said treasury was targeting Sh20 billion from the committees to ensure a successful implementation of the teachers award.
He said: “We shall look at all the recommendations by Friday so that we prepare teachers' payslips reflecting the harmonized award in their October pay.”
The minister pledged that the government would not renege on the agreement and assured teachers that all that has been agreed will be implemented come October.
Githae at the same time said that the establishment of the Salaries and Remuneration Commission would recommend sustainable salaries very soon for every government worker. “It is possible that higher cadres in state and public officers would have their salaries recommended for a slash while the lower cadre would move upwards,” said Githae.
Knut chairman, Wilson Sossion chaired the council meeting that called off the strike and later asked the government to always respect teachers because they also wanted a quality life. The lowest paid teacher at Sh13,000 would now take home Sh19,000 while the highest get Sh145,000 from Sh120,000.
The deal also entails the promotion of 8,000 P2 teachers P1s in a move meant to placate Knut membership because rival union Kuppet is the greatest beneficiary of the harmonized salaries.