•In 2020, 752,981 students sat the test in 10,437 centres.
•The 78,034 increase translates to a 9.39 per cent surge.
It's all systems go for the 2021 KCSE candidates as they start their exams on Monday.
The 831,015 Form Four students will start with English paper one and Chemistry paper one in the morning followed by Mathematics paper one and English comprehension.
The tests will be administered in 10, 413 examination centres and the papers will be disseminated from 483 distribution centres nationwide.
In 2020, 752,981 students sat the test in 10,437 centres.
The 78,034 increase translates to a 9.39 per cent surge.
However, the practicals and oral tests for German, French, Arabic and Kenya sign languages started on February 28.
The government said enough measures had been put in place to ensure the integrity of the test is not compromised.
Education Cabinet Secretary George Magoha has warned students and teachers not to indulge in any malpractices.
Kenya National Examination Council chief executive David Njengere said the body had provided guidelines to safeguard the integrity of the test and to avoid any form of leakage.
“The guidelines say no student is allowed to get out of the exam room before the period allocated to writing a paper is concluded except under very special occasions under strict oversight by the supervisors,” he said.
“Communication in the test rooms will not be allowed and neither will outsiders be allowed to access the school compounds.”
The chief executive said practical exams are to be taken in shifts where the separate student groups will be confined to avoid exposure to one another.
He said those who fail to avail themselves of the confinement will be deemed to have committed exam irregularity.
In the 2020 national exams, cases of cheating dropped. There were 287 cases compared to 1,309 in 2019.
The 287 exam malpractice cases were classified as unauthorised materials (211), mobile phones (45), impersonation (1), collusion (29) and double script (1).
As a result, 27 officials who served as centre managers, supervisors, or invigilators got sacked for breach of the integrity rules, while 37 people including three university students and two traders were nabbed.
Some 53 cell phones were confiscated from candidates.
There was also a decline in the 2019 irregularity figures. However, in 2018, the results of 4,519 candidates were withheld for suspicion of cheating.
Magoha said the drastic decline was because of years of a sustained and relentless campaign to fight the menace.
The ministry also said the candidates have until April 1 to submit their choice of courses.
Starting February 28, both candidates and school centres are required to apply for suitable universities or TVETs courses.
The Kenya Universities and Colleges Central Placement Service announced that school heads and students can access the portal.
Students are paying Sh500 application fees for the process.
Edited by Kiilu Damaris