New KNEC Exam Model Raises Concern

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    Education CS George Magoha speaks to a student at Langas Primary School in Eldoret, Uasin Gishu County on Friday, November 6, 2020
  • Headteachers from across the country have raised concerns over the administration of the national assessment examinations for primary school pupils that started on Monday, January 18, 2021.

    The school heads decried logistical troubles in the preparation for the exams, with several institutions failing to start the exams.

    The headteachers argued that high internet and printing costs posed a major challenge to the administration of the exams. The school heads also raised the lack of access to Information Communication Technology (ICT) facilities and lack of funds as other challenges experienced.

    An image of Magoha
    Education Cabinet Secretary Professor George Magoha (left) Principal Secretary Belio Kipsang (right) and KCB Group chief executive officer Joshua Oigara (behind) touring Olympic Primary School in Kibera on Monday 12 October 2020.

    The national assessment examinations for Grade 1 to 3, classes 5 to 7 were scheduled to run for the week of January 18 to January 22. This will be the first assessment since schools reopened on January 4.

    Grade 7 is to be assessed in all subjects which include Maths, English, Kiswahili, Science and Social Studies. Grade 5 and 6 assessed on Maths, English, Kiswahili and Science whereas Grade 1-3 on the basics that is English, Kiswahili and Maths. 

    All primary schools in the country were expected to have downloaded and printed the exams from the Kenya National Examinations Council (KNEC) website by dusk, Sunday, January 17.

    The headteachers raised concerns over the logistical challenges in fully executing the process, with similar challenges experienced in October 2020. This was during the administration of a similar test for Grade Four and Class Eight pupils who had resumed school then.

    The school heads alleged that the examination council was yet to disburse examination money to the institutions forcing them to use funds meant for other school projects. They hope that the money can be disbursed as to reciprocate and help keep other projects running.

    However, the Ministry of Education had stated that money was sent to the schools about two weeks ago, allocating Ksh11.54 per student for the exams.

    The examination was rolled out by Knec in collaboration with the World Bank and the Global Partnership for Education as a litmus test for the toll on education by the Covid-19 pandemic.

    The learners are meant to be assessed on their knowledge of previous classes and what they have only learnt. As a result, KNEC will not issue rankings, rather data to enable the teachers to develop an evidence-based intervention measure to teach the students.

    "The overarching aim of the assessment is to inform on possible learning gaps among the aforementioned learners during the long closure of schools due to the Covid-19 pandemic and suggest interventions to be put in place to address the gaps as learners progress through their second and third terms of the academic year," KNEC acting Chief Executive Officer Mercy Karogo had stated.

    In a rather rare turn of events, all schools from Siakago,  Mbeere North, Embu County failed to embark on the assessment on Monday, January 18. The school heads stated that they were yet to complete the printing of examination papers.

    School heads also alluded to challenges in the downloading, printing and uploading of examination scores onto the Knec website for the exams administered in October 2020.

    Education CS George Magoha assess the learning situation at Embu County Primary School on Friday, January 15, 2021