2023 KCSE kicks off smoothly amid some logistical challenges

This year’s Kenya Certificate of Secondary Education (KCSE), which kicked off today with a total of 903,260 candidates, will go down as one conducted under tight logistical challenges, including those posed by collection of materials twice from security containers.

For the first time, the KCSE examination will be collected twice from after the Kenya National Examination Council (KNEC) introduced the regulation early this year to minimize exposure to papers before the official start time.

This was informed by the observation by the National Assembly’s Departmental Committee on Education chaired by Tinderet MP Julius Melly that early exposure to examinations was a major cause of exam cheating in 2022.

However, this move might face grave setbacks considering the current heavy rains across the country. It is already causing problems picking and delivering the examinations to their respective centres.

Basic Education Principal Secretary (PS) Dr. Belio Kipsang, while overseeing the collection and distribution in Westlands today morning, hinted at the possibility of allowing school heads to pick examinations once if trust can be nurtured.

“The amount of investments we are putting to protect the integrity of our examination should not be this high. We need to build trust as Kenyan people. This trust deficit is killing all of us. As a country, we should not continue this way,” said Dr. Kipsang.

He added: “Picking papers twice a day might raise concern. We hope we can reach a point where we’re picking the papers once as the exam period progresses.”

The examination, which started today with Chemistry and English Paper I, will also see this year’s candidates enjoy the benefits of the new reviewed grading structure that was unveiled by Education Cabinet Secretary Ezekiel Machogu in September this year.

In the new grading system, only two mandatory subjects – Mathematics and one language – English or Kiswahili/Kenyan Sign Language, will be graded.

In addition to the two, KNEC will consider any other five best performed subjects.

Previously, there were five mandatory subjects across three cluster groups; Mathematics, English, Kiswahili, and two sciences – plus two optional subjects from humanities and technical subjects to compute the candidate’s final grade.

With the new grading system, it is hoped that more students will qualify for university and tertiary training.

The KCSE national examinations, which began on October 23 with foreign languages and practical papers, will enter its second day tomorrow November 7, 2023 with Mathematics Paper I and English Paper II, while on Wednesday Chemistry Paper II and English Paper III will be done.

On the first day, officials from the Ministry of Education (MoE) arrived at various exam collection centres early to oversee the distribution of exam materials.

Teachers Service Commission CEO Dr. Nancy Macharia oversaw the distribution at the Mvita centre in Mombasa County, as her KNEC counterpart Dr. David Njengere witnessed the opening of the container at Kiambu Deputy County Commissioner’s office.

Director Field Coordination and Co-curricular Activities Hassan Duale supervised the distribution in Murang’a South.

By Education News reporter

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