- The exams will be tightly monitored by the Kenya National Examinations Council (Knec) and security agencies to ward off malpractices.
The 2019 Form Four national exams began on Monday across the country, with 699,745 candidates writing the Kenya Certificate of Secondary Education (KCSE) tests.
As was the case with the Kenya Certificate of Primary Education (KCPE) examinations, which ended on Thursday, the exams will be tightly monitored by the Kenya National Examinations Council (Knec) and security agencies to ward off malpractices.
The candidates started with English functional skills testing at 8am and later write English comprehension, literary appreciation and grammar tests in the afternoon.
Here is a round-up of how the day one of the examinations kicked off.
Education Cabinet Secretary Prof George Magoha has warned parents in Nyanza region who he said were planning to buy KCSE examinations.
Prof Magoha, who was speaking during the distribution of KCSE examination papers at the Kisumu East Deputy County Commissioner’s office, said he was aware that some parents in Homa Bay, Migori and Kisii counties had made contributions of Sh200,000 to buy exams.
Tragedy marred day one of KCSE in Nakuru County when one of the centre manager on her way to examination materials at the Naivasha container died in a grisly road accident.
The headteacher of Rev Jeremiah Gitau Secondary School was killed after the vehicle she was travelling in hit a lorry in Longonot along the Maai Mahiu-Naivasha highway.
Two other centre managers, from Mustard Seed and Kiambogo Secondary schools, also suffered serious injuries and were rushed to Kijabe Mission Hospital.
Naivasha Deputy County Commissioner Mbogo Mathioya said that following the incident, arrangements were made to have the exam materials dispatched to the affected schools.
Meanwhile, a candidate who gave birth at Kijabe Mission Hospital was transferred to Naivasha Sub-County hospital with her baby, where the mother was sit her exam.
"Everything is set and we have ensured the candidate is able to sit her examination with minimum distractions," Mr Mathioya said.
Nakuru County Education Director Lawrence Karuntimi said five girls were taking their exams in different hospitals within the county.
In Molo, a private candidate at Njenga Karume Secondary School started his exams with a wrong photo stamped on the desk.
Molo Sub-County Deputy Director of Education Vincent Rono said the error will not deny the student opportunity to sit for his exams.
"The photo on the desk is different from the candidates’ details that include the name and the index number but we have taken necessary measures on the issue and forwarded it to Knec for correction," said Mr Rono.
In Narok, the County Chief Administrative Secretary for Interior Patrick Ole Ntutu called on teachers and security forces to be "extra vigilant".
"We are here on behalf of the President, he is watching and must make sure the exams are safe and secured," said Mr Ntutu.
The county director of education Mr Phillip Wambua said 8,209 candidates were sitting the exam, an increase of 506 candidates compared to last year’s 7,703. He added that there were more girls taking the exam up by 314 from 3,736.
Three candidates wrote their English papers at the Embu Referral Hospital after giving birth.
Embu County Director of Education James Kairu said 11,610 candidates will sit exams in 212 examination centres.
"The candidates had covered the syllabus and we expect them to do well," he said.
Teachers Service Commission chief executive Nancy Macharia oversaw the release of the test papers in Nyeri where she warned centre managers against malpractices.
More than 18,000 Form Four students will sit for their examination in the 243 centres across the county.
“We had 56 teachers who were caught for malpractice last week and I am hoping that for KCSE we will not have any because we have stringent measures in place and we shall be taking action on them,” she said.
She urged them to adhere to guidelines to avoid interruptions and conflicts.
“When you pick these exams, make sure you transport them with government vehicles and you must have security because we are working as a team. Let us obey the Knec guidelines,” she said.
“All we want is for our children to do the best. You as teachers are not siting for the exams so why would you risk it all by making small mistakes that could cost you?” Ms Macharia posed.
- THARAKA NITHI