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Kenyan Teacher Narrates The Horrible Ordeals They Go Through During The Marking Of National Exams



Hi Nyakundi,

I am with a friend of mine who has shared what they go through at national examination marking centers. She says they sleep on school kids’ beds in dormitories where conditions are extremely poor.

“The marking of primary Kiswahili insha and composition ended yesterday. Those who participated have sent me horror stories of the conditions in those centers. Some of the descriptions are too graphic for me to share online. It is pathetic to work for KNEC or TSC. Just pathetic.

Sometime back, I was appointed as one of the delegates in the constitution making at the Bomas of Kenya. For 3 months we camped there discussing the WAKO draft. It was one of the best times of my life as a high school teacher. All that time we were booked at top hotels in Nairobi. I was at Sankara Hotel, that charges 22,000 a night. Most of the delegates were ordinary Kenyans, mama mbogas, councilors etc with the responsibility of national duty. Discuss the constitution draft. We were paid a daily out of pocket allowance of Ksh. 15,000 and at the end of the exercise, I had earned my first million.

Before that, I had been a KNEC examiner. In fact, I had risen to the rank of a team leader. To me, grading papers for students was a bigger national duty than any other. It is like a surgeon on an operation table, where it is a matter of life and death. Lives of hundreds of thousands of children are in your hands as you grade their papers deciding their future and the future of this country. But if you saw the conditions and the pay those examiners receive, you would not believe your eyes. After seeing how the government treated us while working on the constitution draft which was eventually defeated, and compared it to the 14 years miserable, poverty-stricken years I had been an examiner of Insha Paper 1; I quit. Yes, I quit the damned marking thing and started plotting how to quit TSC altogether.

When we arrived at the center, we were welcomed to a dehumanizing and degrading environment and forced to use students’ beds and bedding during the KNEC marking exercise. The same examiners continued to use all the other humble and humbling facilities meant for the students; not to mention other less than honourable activities of having to queue for food complete with a plate in their hands.  (I have elected not to delve into what teachers go through therein).

My question is, is there any other lot of professionals in Kenya who have to use the facilities meant for their clients when transacting official discourse? Do we, for example, have situations where police officers having to use holding cells in police stations when in seminars? Or have we ever heard of cases where Doctors/Clinicians/Nurses having to use beds in the hospital wards when conducting official discourse? Do prison warders use beds meant for the jailed or prisoners for whatever reason?

Which sin did Kenyan teachers commit to warrant such kind of treatment or mistreatment? A country is as serious as it treats its teachers and that clearly places Kenya where it belongs. If everything about teachers is not right, then very little can be expected from the larger part of the population. It is high time the Government started treating teachers as professionals who deserve respect and respectable treatment as opposed to humiliating and oppressive treatment. By the way, as the examiners sleep on students beds while on official national duty, the TSC chief Nancy Macharia, KNEC boss Magoha, CS Amina Mohammed and their colleagues plus other hangons are booked in five-star hotels, being paid billions for taking selfies to satisfy their political masters that all is well. It is a game of showing Kenya they are working when indeed, nothing is going on.”

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