Make sound decision on fate of final exams

Tuesday, April 7th, 2020 21:50 |
Education Cabinet Secretary George Magoha. Photo/PD/File

Adequate deliberations must be made before a decision on whether to reschedule this year’s final exams for Form Four and Standard Eight candidates is taken. 

Following the abrupt closure of schools and colleges last month in an effort to avert the spread of coronavirus, the school calendar has been disrupted.

Among the challenges facing the education sector is the fate of at least two million candidates scheduled to sit the Kenya Certificate of Primary Education and the Kenya Certificate of Secondary School Education examinations.

The Kenya National Examinations Council (Knec) has been holding meetings to deliberate on the options available.  Knec bosses say no decision has been taken yet on the fate of the exams. 

Opinion is divided among education stakeholders on whether the tests should be postponed.

Even teachers’ unions cannot agree whether the exams should be postponed. 

What everybody agrees on is that the situation is unprecedented and nobody knows when formal learning in schools will resume.

Countries such as Chile, China, France, Japan, Spain and Vietnam have postponed exams until normalcy returns.

Already, Knec has postponed the Early Childhood and Development and Diploma in Special Needs Education exams.

The Kenya Accountants and Secretaries National Examinations Board has also moved next month’s exams to July.  

When a country’s exams are in question, it raises concerns about the quality of human resources both locally and internationally, and affects the country’s development plans and prospects. 

The situation facing Knec, therefore, is a concern to the nation, not just to teachers, candidates and their parents. And all stakeholders must be consulted to safeguard the integrity of national exams. 

We must be innovative and look for ways to work around the problem. University academic backlogs have been sorted in the past. If the situation requires freezing school terms, so be it.  

Relevant ministries and stakeholders must get involved to ensure the process is seamless once Covid-19 is contained and schools reopen.

Contributions of the ministries of Education, Security and ICT, together with that of teacher’s unions and headtechers associations,  must all be considered.  

For ease of management and flow of information, all departments involved must be brought together under one roof in a command centre where all issues could be addressed.

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