Security Beefed In Bandit Prone Areas Ahead Of KCPE, KCSE Exams.
The government has increased security in the North Rift region to ensure a safe environment for candidates taking national exams, which are set to begin early next month.
Maalim Mohammed, Rift Valley Regional Commissioner, said security had been beefed up in Baringo, West Pokot, Elgeyo Marakwet, Turkana, and Laikipia counties, where sporadic cases of banditry attacks had been reported, to ensure that candidates sat for their exams peacefully and without incident.
He stated that some candidates in the worst-affected areas had been relocated to safer examination centers, but he cautioned politicians not to disrupt the schedule of national examinations with their campaigns in order to give the candidates enough time to write their papers.
Although the Kenya National Examination Council (KNEC) regulations had abolished and merged examination centers with less than 30 candidates registered for both the KCPE and KCSE examinations, Maalim stated that such a rule would not be applicable in the region due to security concerns.
Speaking after a meeting with Rift Valley Regional Intelligence Committee members, County Commissioners, and education officials from the region’s 14 devolved units to review preparations for the examination, Mr Maalim regretted that several schools in West Pokot County, including St Mary’s Cheptulele Girls, Cheptulel Boys, Cheptulel Primary School, Cheratak Primary Seramach Primary School, had been closed for security reasons.
“We will ensure all candidates in the five affected schools write their examinations. Some of the schools have been reopened, while candidates in learning institutions that are yet to reopen have been relocated to other centres. We will also do tracing of any missing candidates to ensure that all eligible learners are administered their national examination,” he added
In total, 340,304 candidates will sit for the Kenya Certificate of Primary Education (KCPE) in the region, with 171,651 boys and 168,669 girls.
A total of 292,414 candidates are drawn from public schools, while 47,890 are registered in private institutions.
“As the electioneering fever gains momentum across the country, we appeal to aspirants eyeing various elective seats to desist from holding rallies or mounting public address systems in or near our schools in order to give candidates deserved ample time,” Maalim said warning those found flouting the directive that they will be dealt with accordingly.
The Regional Commissioner revealed that the 14 county and sub-county security teams had put in place adequate safeguards to ensure that the examination papers were properly guarded before, during, and even after the candidates had done so.
“We have deployed sufficient security personnel to man all Kenya Certificate of Secondary Education (KCSE) and Kenya Certificate of Primary Education (KCPE) exam containers and centers in the county,” he assured.
He emphasized the importance of education officers, particularly principals who will serve as examination center managers, ensuring that the upcoming examinations are managed in strict accordance with the examination body’s regulations.
“We urge principals, head teachers, invigilators, and supervisors in charge to ensure that the KCSE and KCPE exams are free of malpractices like cheating,”
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Maalim also stated that adequate security personnel would be provided to all examination centers in the region throughout the examination period.
“We will not take any chances in this critical time for our children. We wish to assure the parents, teachers and students in the affected areas that their safety is guaranteed,” said Mr Maalim
Candidates from Changach Barrack Secondary School in Elgeyo Marakwet have been relocated to Kiptolos Secondary School, which is 14 kilometres away. Candidates from Kapturo and Chepksin Primary Schools in Baringo County will take their exams at Taboroi Primary School.
Other exam sites that have been relocated include Kapkechir Primary School to Karne Primary School, Kasiela Primary School to Sinoni Primary School, Arabal Primary School and Kapindasum to Chemongorin Primary School, and Tuyotich Primary School and Tuyotich Secondary School to Kabel Primary School.
The administrator in Laikipia County noted that Tumaini and Merigwiti Primary Schools, which were destroyed in banditry attacks last year, had reopened with additional new classrooms after being restored by Kenya Defense Forces.
“All the relocated candidates will be provided with boarding facilities and meals that will be catered for by the government. County Commissioners in affected regions will liaise with school heads to ensure relocated candidates write their exams in a conducive set up,” Maalim stated
He stated that a total of 208,935 candidates from public schools and an additional 16,017 from private institutions in the region will take the Kenya Certificate of Secondary Education (KCSE), which begins on March 14.
In total, 224,852 students have registered for the Kenya Certificate of Secondary Education (KCSE) in the region, including 113,160 boys and 111,692 girls.
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Examination materials will be stored in 135 containers set up in sub-counties and managed by sub-county commissioners and education officers.
He reassured candidates that adequate transportation arrangements had been made to ensure that exam papers, invigilators, supervisors, and security personnel arrived at all centers.
“Our concern is heavy rains that have increased and with the bad roads in rural areas, we expect some challenges. We have mapped out all areas and we are working closely with sub-county education officers who are on the ground to ensure the success of the examination,” he said.
He added that local administrators’ motorbikes and choppers would be on standby to deliver papers and personnel to areas inaccessible by four-wheel vehicles.