Teachers Recount Awful Experiences With KNEC During 2021 KCSE Marking Exercise
The marking of 2021 KCSE exams is almost complete, with over 90% of contracted professionals having checked out of various marking centres. Among the papers whose examiners are still in the marking centres are technical subjects, whose marking is speculated to end by weekend.
As Kenyans await the conclusion of the marking process, education cabinet secretary professor George Magoha has already hinted on the release of KCSE results. What Magoha and other Kenyans have little understanding about is the plight of teachers in the hands of the Kenya National examinations council (KNEC) during the marking of KCSE 2021, and even the previous exams.
Our team communicated with a section of examiners, team leaders and assistant chief examiners who had just checked out of the marking centres and the responses were shocking. Comparing the March 2022 marking process with the past marking experiences, a majority of teachers felt that this was the worst ever and that the KNEC they saw this year is not the KNEC of the previous years in terms of teacher frustration.
It became clear from the reactions of the examiners that most of them are yet to receive their advance and transport reimbursement, more than three days after leaving the centre.
“I have been hanging around these streets for the last two days, waiting for KNEC to send me my transport home and an advance payment. I did my job and was told that money would be sent. I have no money to pay for the bus ticket for my journey back home. When I was coming, I borrowed and cannot borrow again,” recounted a stressed chemistry paper three examiner, whom we found along Nairobi’s Tom Mboya Street.
“How does KNEC expect me to get back home? And even if I could get the fare, how would I reach my home empty handed yet my people know that I went to work? KNEC iache hii mchezo yake bwana,” reacted another examiner who is yet to arrive home.
On the dispensation of scripts to be marked, all the teachers cited a snail-paced dispensation. A carton of approximately one thousand scripts would be dispensed daily to be shared by two teams of about nine examiners. Sometimes, the scripts would not be brought at all. What this means is that the examiners would spend their time idling and caged in the examination centres.
“An activity that should last at most 10 days took almost two weeks due to the confusion at KNEC. Why would they bring fewer scripts daily? And what prevents them from keeping the scripts in the script room in the centres?” reacted an irked examiner.
“I have a feeling that there is something so special with this lorry that takes scripts to various marking centre. It may belong to one of the workers at KNEC or somebody is out to get daily allowance and is therefore intentionally increased the number of working days,” said a team leader in one of the marking centres.
When a KNEC officer was asked about the delays, he confessed that indeed there was delay and explained that the had limited time to sort scripts at the KNEC warehouse where all the sat papers were kept. This was supported by a section of the examiners who recalled that papers of some subjects that were being marked in other centres would be found in their centres. An examiner would face it rough by just opening a packet minus checking the paper name and code in the packet.
The coordination fee, which the examiners would receive just about two days after reporting to the centres in the previous marking exercises was this time received after 10 days and this did not go well with the examiners.
“We are likely to receive our dues in December, judging from the late coordination fee,” said another examiner.
Some recounted how they had been promised that they would go home the following day, only to be shocked after returning their beddings in the morning that there were stray scripts which just arrived the previous midnight. The worst bit is that some marksheets were missing and would only be availed after twenty-four hours. This would keep the examiners idle as they wait.
“For scripts coming like medicine, we understand. But how can we be convinced to understand mark sheets which can just be printed?” an assistant chief examiner asked.
Majority of the teachers asked themselves the essence of being forced to wake up at 5Am to do nothing in the marking rooms.