Postponement of KCSE, KCPE looms as ministry starts reviewing critical programmes

KCSE Exams in the past. [Photo by Nation]

A lot of uncertainty surrounds this year’s school calendar with top ministry officials now mulling postponing national exams scheduled for the third quarter of the year due to COVID-19 pandemic.

The fate of the Kenya Certificate of Primary Education (KCPE) and Kenya Certificate of Secondary Education (KCSE) now hangs in the balance. KCPE was scheduled to start on November 2 to November 4 while KCSE was to start on November 4 and run through to November 30.

A source at the Ministry of Education intimated that Education CS Prof George Magoha and PS Basic Education Dr Belio Kipsang have had a string of meetings in the last week with a view of reviewing the postponement of critical programmes in the education sector, cites the Star.

Schools have remained closed since March 15 when President Uhuru Kenyatta issued a closure order in a bid to protect hundreds of thousands of Kenyan students from coronavirus. There are no indications of learning institutions resuming anytime soon.

Now, the elephant in the room is which direction the ministry will take which can only be informed by a solid date of reopening of schools. Agriculture practical sessions for 2020 KCSE students which were to start around February have been already been called off.

Kenya National Examination Council interim CEO Mercy Karogo said that they are in talks on issues that are likely to be affected by the pandemic.

“We are consulting and will communicate in due time on any decision, but most important right now is listening to the medical experts and doing as they say so everything stabilises,” Karogo said.

Kenya Parents Association chairman Nicholas Maiyo in a comment on the issue stated that “As it is at the moment, postponing the examination is not a matter of if but when.”

This comes as the Kenya Union of Post Primary Education Teachers (Kuppet) secretary-general Akello Misori asked the Magoha led ministry to review its calendar.

“The minister should discuss the idea of rethinking a new school calendar of events by reorganising term dates… That means the KCPE and KCSE exams cannot go on as proposed,” Misori said.

The lockdown has hitherto eaten into the third week of the school’s first term calendar. Parents have asked for a model to be compensated since their kids have been at home yet they paid full school fees for the first term.