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Stats: 18,321 Members, 74,368 Topics, 16,046 Comments. Date: Nov 17 2019, 9:00 pm

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Mathew Oluwaseun
University of Ilorin (Unilorin)
Mechanical Engineering
500Level, Nigeria.

The Kenya Certificate of Primary Education (KCPE) examinations came to an end yesterday, with pupils exuding confidence that they will perform well and tutors upbeat their efforts will bear fruit.

There were different issues that arose during the period, the most outstanding being government response to pregnant students where ambulances and standby medics were on hand to attend to the candidates, the flooding that hindered delivery of exam materials on time and the number of pupils missing from the exam register.

GAVE BIRTH

The number of candidates who gave birth during the examinations is higher than the official count by Education Cabinet Secretary George Magoha.

Though Prof Magoha hailed the low figure as "a good sign that parents are talking to their children," a spot check by the Nation, in only a few counties, shows that close to 20 teenage girls delivered and many others are at various stages of pregnancy, a situation that should worry education stakeholders.

At one school alone, Onger Primary School in Nyatike Sub-county, Migori County, 11 KCPE candidates are heavily pregnant. A senior teacher at the school told the Nation that the parents of the affected pupils are a hindrance to bringing the culprits to justice as they settle the matters in secrecy.

Parents turn hostile

"Our hands are tied in this matter because the affected parents sometimes turn hostile when approached to discuss the matter," the teacher said.

In Siaya, 14 expectant candidates did the examinations in Rarieda and Gem sub-counties. Schools with pregnant candidates in Gem include Abuche, Odendo, Gem Private, Ndori, Ndiru, Mutumbu and Nyasidhi primary schools.

Rarieda sub-county assistant county commissioner Wycliffe Lang'at said Ujwang'a, St Lazarus, Mabinju and Ndigwa primary schools had reported teenage pregnancy cases.

TEEN PREGNANCIES

Bomet County Commissioner Geoffrey Omoding said cases of teen pregnancies were on the rise in the region. "The law relating to protection of children, especially as regards to sexual relationships, will be applied in full force so as to enable the children pursue their education away from predators," he said.

The county director of education, Mr Mabale Indiatsi, said while it is unfortunate that the girls had fallen pregnant. They would be accorded the chance to further their studies.

In anticipation of pregnancy-related cases, the government had placed ambulances and other vehicles on standby to ensure the girls are accorded medical care as they sat the examinations.

Hundreds of candidates also missed the examinations for other reasons. The Kenya National Examinations Council registered 1,088,986 candidates for this year's test.

At least 11 candidates from the Kabonokia religious sect did not turn up for the exams in Tharaka North Sub-county. More absconding is thought to have happened in the far-flung areas of the county where the sect is active.

In Meru County, 79 candidates (45 boys and 34 girls) failed to turn up for the exams due to various reasons.

DIVERSE AILMENTS

Six candidates did the exams in various hospitals while nursing diverse ailments. County director of education Milton Nzioka said they were monitoring the pregnant pupils but none gave birth during the period.

Coast regional director of education, Hassan Duale, said only a few candidates failed to sit the examinations. "There were few cases of absenteeism," he said, without giving the exact number.

Two candidates in Molo did not sit the tests after they got married. Sub-county director of education, Sylvester Musikoyo, said the two were among 38 absentee candidates in the sub-county. Some 18 of them are boys.

In Narok County, exams were delayed after vehicles ferrying the papers got stuck in mud in places like Olposimoru, Oloropil and Melili.

There was marked improvement in ensuring the exams did not leak apart from "attempted" cases in three counties.

"None of the examination papers, even a single question, was leaked. All candidates were able to see the contents of the examinations at the start of each paper. You can therefore expect all the candidates will receive their grades" Prof Magoha said at Ayany Primary School.

The counties in question are Nyandarua, West Pokot and Garissa.

CHEATING

Prof Magoha said the Teachers Service Commission has already taken action against teachers involved in the malpractice.

Detectives on Wednesday arrested eight suspects over involvement in examination cheating at Hezta Academy in Ol Kalou, Nyandarua County. They confiscated rubbers, tissue paper and mobile phones.

Among those arrested were the proprietor, Ms Tabitha Wambui, the supervisor, invigilators and the centre manager, Mr Musa Mirobi.

Should any malpractice be detected during marking, action will be taken against the culprits, Prof Magoha said.

The CS said marking will start in a few days' time and results will be released before Christmas.

"The children will be able to know which schools they will be joining for Form One immediately after results are released to enable parents to prepare them," he said.

Reporting by Faith Nyamai, Ian Byron, Dickens Wasonga, Vitalis Kimutai, Charles Wanyoro, Alex Njeru, John Njoroge, George Sayagie, Waikwa Maina, Lucy Mkanyika, Mishi Gongo, Winnie Atieno and Fadhili Fredrick

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