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The Kenya National Examination Council (KNEC) on Monday said it has postponed the national exams by three weeks to recover lost time occasioned by the teachers strike.
Candidates sitting for the Kenya Certificate of Secondary Education (KCSE) will commence their exams on October 15, while pupils sitting for the Kenya Certificate of Primary Education (KCPE) will do their exams from December 4.
Education minister Mutula Kilonzo said schools will next year be expected to open for their first term in February instead of January.
Pushing back the exams to allow students to catch up with lost lessons would have serious implications.
This would affect marking and releasing of the results, which takes at least one month to complete.
Postponing the exams, would trigger an educational crisis by wreaking havoc on the school calendar next year.
Firstly, exam markers are teachers who use the December holidays for purposes of marking. It would otherwise not be possible to have them during the school term.
Releasing the results late would affect selection of candidates to join Form One and affect university programmes by delaying admissions.
The exams were scheduled to start on October 4, with Home Science practical followed by other practical tests and optional papers, which run up to the end of the month. Theory papers were to start on November 5.
This year, 820,255 Standard Eight pupils will sit the Kenya Certificate of Primary Education exams in more than 23,000 schools countrywide.
Another 437,782 will sit the Kenya Certificate of Secondary Education test in more than 7,000 schools.
The teachers strike jeopardises the future of the candidates and the smooth running of the educational calendar.
Students flocked the Kenya National Libraries in the country following the teachers strike in the last three weeks. A spot check by the Star Newspaper revealed that many students, mainly candidates have been spending the better part of their days in the facilities revising for the national examination since the beginning of the strike.
“The library is very important as one can study undisturbed compared to home. The main challenge is that we lack teachers guidance in our revision,” said Denice Mwashuma, a form two student in Murray Girls High School. Mwashuma said they had returned home on opening day as there were no teachers at school.