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School heads urge ministry to review policy on exams to expectant candidates



Head Teachers have urged the Ministry of Education to stop administering the Kenya Certificate of Primary Education (KCPE) examinations to expectant candidates who give birth during the national test and those that fall ill.

The Kenya Primary Schools Head Teachers Association (Kepsha) said the ministry should review the examination policy to address the challenges of candidates who fall ill and those who deliver during the examination period.

“Why should a sick candidate take their examination in a hospital or those expectant in a maternity ward? Why can’t we have a policy where, if a child cannot be able to sit an exam, he or she should get a supplementary paper later when they get well,” said Kepsha chairman Mr Johnson Nzioka.

The Kenya National Union of Teachers (Knut) also supported the proposal.

“ Pregnancy is not a disease. A review of the policy is geared towards accommodating learners in line with the fact they do not get embarrassed. When you sit exams in hospital you get embarrassed,” said Knut secretary-general Mr Collins Oyuu during an interview with Nation.

Speaking at the end of their four days’ annual conference at the Sheikh Khalifa Bin Zayed Primary School, the school managers said candidates who have just given birth should be allowed to ‘fully recover.”

Early this year, principals also urged the government to stop administering the Kenya Certificate of Secondary Education (KCSE) examinations, to candidates who give birth during the national test.

The Kenya Secondary School’s Heads Association (Kessha) lauded the government for enhancing inclusive education however, the principals said candidates who have just given birth are still invalids and should recover fully before sitting an exam.

“We appreciate that the Ministry of Education and the government have continued to embrace education for all. Wl, that we are even able to manage our young girls who fall in a family way and our principals manage them despite the challenges that go with them. Why should we test a girl who has just delivered,”? asked Kessha chair Kahi Indimuli.

Instead, the association chairman urged the government to give the candidates enough time to fully recover from pregnancy and childbirth.

The school managers said the candidates can sit the exams at a later time when their minds and bodies are ready for the exams saying it is not a matter of life and death.

Mr Indimuli urged Kenya National Examination Council (Knec) to critically relook into the matter.

“I have never fallen pregnant, but I have been with somebody very close who has been expectant and I have seen the pain they go through. Here is a girl, who has gone through that problem the whole night and delivers around 6am, maybe through the caesarian section or normal delivery. But at 8am we are there with an invigilator, a policeman and a supervisor,” he said.

If a doctor has prescribed a child is unwell and requires admission, Mr Indimuli says the student should be given bed rest.

Hundreds of candidates give birth during KCPE and KCSE every year.

To ensure a 100 percent transition from primary to secondary, the head teachers pledged to capacity-build other stakeholders and train them on preparedness to implement Junior Secondary Schools.

Kepsha will also collaborate with the Kenya National Parents Association to help children re-entry into schools.

“Provide security for learners and teachers in areas affected by insecurity. Provide infrastructure resources to assist CBC implementation and increase of the school enrolment resulting to the closure of some private schools,” said the association.

Kepsha further pledged to support their employer, TSC in the training of teachers for professional development.

“We will also prepare teachers on retirement preparedness, and lobby for speedy processing of teachers’ pensions once they retire,” said the association.

The association said it will also support the process of engineering and refining the National Education Management Information System (Nemis) to assist in the efficiency of data collection.

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