The Kenya National Examination Council has registered 112,000 more candidates for national exams this year than in 2020, However, schools with fewer than 40 students will be closed as examination centres.
Despite the increased number of candidates, the Kenya National Examinations Council (Knec) has reduced the number of Kenya Certificate of Secondary Education (KCSE) and Kenya Certificate of Primary Education (KCPE) examination centres (KCPE).
The number of KCPE centres has decreased from 28,467 last year to 28,329 this year, and the number of KCSE centres has decreased from 10,437 to 10,413 this year.
This was in response to a Knec circular issued in May directing schools with fewer than 40 candidates to register their candidates in neighbouring schools.
The closure of 24 secondary schools and 138 primary schools has resulted in the closure of examination centres.
Private schools are the most affected, as they have been pushing for the number of candidates to be reduced to the usual 15 candidates, which Knec had set as the minimum number per school.
In comparison to last year, an additional 78,424 students have registered for the Kenya Certificate of Secondary Education (KCSE) exam this year.
An additional 34,085 students have registered for the Kenya Certificate of Primary Education (KCPE) exam this year.
Kenya National Examinations Council (Knec) CEO David Njeng’ere said yesterday that the increase in KCSE candidates shows that more students are completing secondary education.
“Sure, it will cost more to administer the exams. Clearly, the 100 per cent transition policy is bearing fruit, so we can’t complain but celebrate that more children are able to complete secondary education,” said Dr Njeng’ere.
He revealed that a total of 2,056,719 candidates have registered for the two exams, an increase from the 1,938,667 who took the 2020 exams.
A total of 831,026 candidates (407,606 female and 423,420 male) have registered for the 2021 KCSE exams in secondary schools while 1,225,693 candidates (609,294 female and 616,399 male) have registered for the KCPE.
A total of 5,314 private candidates have registered for the examinations.
According to the 2021 Economic Survey, a total of 1,191,727 people registered for the 2020 KCPE exams, but only 1,088,989 of them took them. A total of 752,933 candidates registered for KCSE, with 2,695 girls and 3,077 boys failing to take the exams.
The increased number of candidates in 2021 is expected to raise the cost of administering the examinations. The increased number of candidates taking the Class Eight exams is also expected to cause more congestion in secondary schools.
This year, Knec has hired 4,200 more examiners in preparation for the national exams. They were hired in September and trained from October 3 to October 9.
Knec hired 700 more English Composition and Kiswahili Insha examiners for the KCPE, while it hired 3,500 for the KCSE exams in English, Kiswahili, Biology, Chemistry, History and Government 3, Christian Religious Education, and Agriculture.
At the same time, Knec published the schedule for the 2021 KCSE and KCSE examinations.
Dr. Njeng’ere stated that the KCPE exams will begin on March 7 and will end on March 9, while the KCSE written exams will begin on February 28 and will last until April 1. The practical exams will begin on February 28.
Because of the disruption in the school calendar caused by the Covid 19 pandemic, which saw schools closed for nine months, Knec will administer exams for the second time in March and April.