In about two weeks’ time, more than 2.4 million candidates will sit national examinations to determine their transition to the next level of education.
A total of 1.8 million candidates will sit the Kenya Certificate of Primary Education (KCPE) exams across 27,809 centres across the country while another 699,746 will sit the Kenya Certificate of Secondary Education (KCSE) exams in 10,896 centres.
Administering exams to such a large number of candidates requires both sufficient planning and efficient delivery to avert cases of delays and check against malpractices such as cheating.
The government says measures have been put in place to ensure smooth operations during the exams, including mobilising 180,000 teachers and providing some 479-strong metallic containers with special security padlocks to be used for storage of examination papers.
It has also doubled the distribution centres in 338 sub-counties. We hope these pledges will be followed by solid action to avoid hitches and malpractices witnessed in past years that allowed the integrity of some exams to be compromised.
National exams depend a great deal on the credibility of the process and the candidates being offered a conducive environment to test the knowledge they have acquired. As such, there is need to thoroughly vet the officers and teachers tasked with administering the exams and equip them with the skills to deal with the perennial problem of leaks.
Good as they are, it is not enough to have containers and security padlocks. It is equally important to have people with integrity throughout the process chain. There should also be no doubt that punitive measures will be taken against those who attempt to condone malpractices. Incidents of insecurity in parts of the country such as the northern region should also be addressed to prevent harm or displacement of candidates.
Similarly, contingency measures should be put in place to deal with the potential effects of the heavy rains currently being recorded especially in the western Kenya. The threats of flooding and outbreak of diseases such as malaria are high in this region and the State will do well to find ways of ensuring exam materials are delivered smoothly and on time and there is sufficient medicine and personnel to deal with any medical emergencies that may arise.