Disruption of studies a lesson to Knec on learner testing, says don

Thursday, July 16th, 2020 00:00 |
Mt Kenya University Council Vice-Chair Dr Vincent Gaitho. Photo/PD/COURTESY

The government has been challenged to consider changing the mode of examining primary and secondary school learners by creating a system where they are awarded grades to progress to the next level based on school life progression so as to avert a repeat of the situation where the 2020 academic year was affected by the coronavirus pandemic.

Mt Kenya University (MKU) Council Vice-Chair Dr Vincent Gaitho also faulted the Kenya National Examinations Council (Knec) for being absent throughout the learners’ lives only to appear twice in the 12-year basic education cycle, through the Class Eight and Form Four exams.

“It is high time Knec was called upon to rethink how to be involved in every exam throughout the school terms and not wait at the tail end for eight and four years to examine them.

Knec waits for all the work to be done by various stakeholders and appears at the tail end of a learner’s education life and then appears to determine the future of their education,” Gaitho said in a statement to newsrooms yesterday.

According to the don, the government should end the on-off exams that determine the years spent in primary and secondary school levels.

Gaitho said Knec should consider administering the International General Certificate of Secondary Education (IGCSE) curriculum, which is examined by International Examinations Board or the General Certificate of Secondary Education (GCSE).

“We need to look at different systems of education the way the IGCSE/GCSE system is synchronised (I stand to be corrected).

In Kenya, we could have a hybrid that will have a mutual benefit to the learners.

This way, the candidates are awarded grades to progress to the next level based on progression throughout the schooling life and not a one-off examination that will determine the eight or four years spent in school”.

Gaitho was reacting to the government announcement that the 2020 academic year has been suspended until January.

Education Cabinet Secretary Prof George Magoha also announced that all national exams will be done next year and that learners in primary and secondary schools will resume their studies from where they left in March when learning institutions were closed to curb the spread of Covid-19.

 “While we cannot rule out a recurrence of a similar scenario whether caused by a pandemic or act of God, the current scenario must be a lesson to us and should it replay in future, the lessons learnt shall be applied to avoid ‘losing’ yet another year,” Gaitho said.

However, he expressed hope the ongoing rollout of the Competency-Based Curriculum will offer a remedy because it lays emphasis more on the learners’ ability and not grades.

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