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Parents Petition Skewed 2020 KCPE Grading For Private Schools To Parliament

Two parents have petitioned the National Assembly to probe the 2020 KCPE exam results, citing unfairness faced by candidates in private schools.

Mary Njoki and Isaac Njoroge averred that their children were graded unfairly.

The two cited a pattern of possible manipulation of results that skewed the general performance of public schools to the detriment of private schools.

They raised concerns that the marking and release process of the KCPE exam lacks transparency and is shrouded in mystery, putting the Education ministry under CS George Magoha on the spot.

They want the National Assembly Education Committee to probe allegations of possible external influence in the marking process.

The petitioners argued that external influences resulted in candidates at public schools getting higher scores than their counterparts in private schools.

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“They are seeking a review of the legal framework governing the marking of national examinations to avert external influence by stakeholders,” National Assembly Speaker Justin Muturi told MPs.

The parents claimed that an extensive analysis of the results of the exam released on April 15, 2021, revealed the pattern for which they are seeking the review.

They argued that private schools heavily invested in ICT and deployed alternative learning methods, including online classes, after Covid-19 disrupted learning in schools.

The petitioners argue that the measures ensured candidates in private schools prepared for the exam better than their counterparts in public schools.

“We are puzzled that contrary to the logical expectations, the 2020 KCPE results were skewed to reflect better performance of public schools and a drastic drop in performance of candidates in private schools,” they say.

Muturi reported that the petitioners attached progress reports to demonstrate that the marks they were awarded reflected a drastic negative deviation from the average scores they had in CATs.

They also attached results of an assessment conducted by the Kenya National Examinations Council after the resumption of learning post-Covid-19 to ascertain KCPE preparedness.

“KNEC, in its report on Monitoring Learner Achievement at Class 7 Level Primary School Education, admitted that children in private schools achieved higher mean scores in all subjects than their counterparts in public schools,” the petitioners point out.

MPs said it was regrettable that some parents think that public schools cannot perform better than private schools in the national examinations.

Emuhaya MP Omboko Milemba said they will scrutinise the petition to ascertain if there was any other method that was used away from the normal marking methods.

Milemba who is also the Education committee vice chair said, “There has been a lot of imagination that public schools cannot perform. With improved infrastructure and if we get more teachers, we shall have public schools performing better.”

Kiminini MP Chris Wamalwa said the integrity of exams must be protected, saying the complaints about exams should be dealt with.

“The question is: at what point were the results interfered with? When you tabulate the results you should have a uniform pattern,” he said.

“If it is true that private schools’ results don’t display a uniform curve, then something went wrong. Let the results be audited. We cannot allow the results to be compromised.”

Endebess MP Robert Pukose said the committee should look at the allegations against available data to ascertain whether marking has been favouring certain institutions.

“In as much as we strive to make public institutions better, the problem is the quality. It is also fair that a child in Garissa or wherever gets equal attention.

“It will be an opportunity for the committee to ensure fair distribution of teachers and infrastructure and what can be put as the bare minimum for any child to compete fairly in the country,” Pukose said.

Seme MP James Nyika termed it unfortunate that no member of the House has ever raised a petition for the years that public schools have done poorly.

“The public school should be the gold standard. Let us find out the truth but should it come out that the feeling is that private schools should do better, then we will have let our people down.

“This is because we should be more concerned when public schools are performing poorly,” Nyikal said.

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