Focus shifts to marking as KCSE exams conclude

Education CS Amina Mohamed inspects the collection of KCSE papers at Starehe sub-county container, November 26, 2018. /COURTESY
Education CS Amina Mohamed inspects the collection of KCSE papers at Starehe sub-county container, November 26, 2018. /COURTESY

The 2018 KCSE exams concluded on Wednesday

amid concerns over high student pregnancies that dotted the largely successful exercise.

Focus now shifts to the marking of the KCSE exams with results expected before the Christmas in line with President Uhuru Kenyatta’s assurance.

Knec boss George Magoha said it was primitive that small children were getting pregnant at an alarming rate.

He called on the relevant authorities to consider blocking all pornographic sites.

Magoha said the high teen pregnancies imply that there is high moral decadence amongst parents who are failing at impacting the right moral values in their children.

"If within three days we saw hundreds of them giving birth, it means it has been going on throughout the year and it’s what we call in medicine a pandemic."

He said the authorities should block all pornographic sites which he said contribute to rising cases of teenage pregnancies.

"It has nothing to do with democracy," Magoha said, citing countries like China as among those that have taken a similar step.

He challenged the Education Ministry to introduce reproductive health in schools noting that some of the children got pregnant out of ignorance.

"I think we, including myself, we have been surpassed by the social media. So can we start to teach these young people about their bodies rather than them finding out that they are pregnant?"

Magoha spoke on Wednesday at the Nairobi School after the sealing of the Art and Design practical answer scripts to mark the conclusion of the KCSE exams.

He was accompanied by Education CS Amina Mohammed, TCS CEO Nancy Macharia, Knec CEO Mercy Karogo, and PS Belio Kipsang.

Some 664,550 candidates sat the 2018 KCSE. Magoha reaffirmed Knec’s stand that there were no leakages in the exams despite a few reported cases of malpractices.

He dismissed those critical of how the exams were conducted as busybodies who should be ashamed of themselves.

"The few challenges that we found I the field were to be expected because you do not expect a perfect operation when you are dealing with one million candidates," Magoha said.

He equally downplayed concerns that the presence of security officers in exam centres may have sent panic amongst candidates.

Magoha said the alleged militarization of the exams was barely noticed by candidates.

"For those few people who are making noise about policemen, in my humble view, may as well have been part of the people who have been giving us sleepless nights," Magoha said.

Amina described the monitoring exercise of the exams as one of the most robust exercises on the continent.

She said the exams are probably the most credible in the country’s exams’ history and thanked the multi-sectoral monitory team for a job well done.

"In fact, we already have several requests for benchmarking from countries across the continent because very much like us, they wish to guarantee the credibility of the matriculation processes," Amina said.

She said Kenya should as a country be proud of the outcome owing to the challenges posed by technological advancement that could potentially be used to compromise exam credibility.

Amina said only two schools out of the 222 that were under surveillance reported minimal malpractices but remedial action prevented full-blown examination contamination.

Overall, the CS said ten exam centre managers were relieved of their duties for allowing transportation of exam papers in private vehicles, 110 people were arrested over attempted cheating.

These include ten board of managers in four schools who have since been charged.

Amina said 101 phones were confiscated from teachers, students and school staff.

"The ministry hopes to build on the gains that have been made and the lessons that have been learnt during this year’s examination period to improve the process and systems going forward," Amina said.