Are Kenyan Exams Really Important for Our Students?

Nearly all the existing average Kenyans have definitely undergone the 8-4-4 system. What is of notable concern is the examination system. Nobody understands why the students have to do all those exams, and attend to all those classes, only for the future to be determined by one last major paper. This happens both in our primary and secondary school levels.

Surely, it is about time we got a solution for this. Probably a different curriculum would do. But in any case, this should be treated as an emergency case.

Should Kenya Revert to the British Education System?

Kenya’s most ‘big-deal’ exams in a student’s life are; the KCPE and KCSE exams. We always spend our whole school life preparing for them.


It is actually only in Kenya where a child studies for eight years so as to prepare for a three-day KCPE examination and four more for a three-week K.C.S.E examination.

Our education system is completely different from other systems, such as the Chinese, Japanese and British just to name but a few. We can truly tell that those other systems are a great success as opposed to ours.

Exams are the big elephants that everybody has to face thrice or more times in a school term and kids hate school for that.

In fact, they find learning fun and a knowledge booster, but the mention of exams always sends chills to their bodies.


Is it that a Kenyan is Never Prepared for an Exam?

We should all just come to the realization that an exam is only an evaluation. It is meant to determine whether one has understood the content or not.

Instead, too much pressure is put on the kids about exams for no good reason.

Those from the earlier generation can attest that one used to get punished for failing the examinations. Each teacher usually had a pre-determined punishment for those who got grades that were not of their set standards. As we speak, there is even more stiff competition in our schools in relation to examinations.

Students nowadays receive punishment per question failed let alone the talk of the per subject.


Doing too many exams, only for a few to be given consideration for higher learning, is the major ailment in our education sector.

The Grade Scored in Mock Exams is What You’ll Get in KCPE / KCSE

We have all witnessed how high school students begin unrest during the term 2 ‘Mock exams’ period. This is tied to the belief that whatever you score in the Mock exams is a reflection of your KCSE score.

Similar or even worse fears occur during the KCSE examination period. This is because the exam is termed as the determinant of one’s future.

This explains the year-in-year-out cases of cheating and other exam malpractices among our students. After all, nobody wants to be labeled as a failure at the end of the day just by scoring an ‘E’ or ‘D’ grade.

We have also witnessed a number of suicide cases involving students who did not perform well in their KCPE or KCSE exams. Why? Because in all their lives, they have been cautioned on how important these examinations are.

Our New CBC Curriculum, Where Are You?

The only way to salvage our country from the ‘exam maniac’, is by changing the attitudes and beliefs that come along with exams.

Let’s take into consideration Wangai’s proposal of establishing a comprehensive system that accommodates and identifies children’s individual talents and embraces continuous assessment. This will certainly be a good start.

The Competency-Based CBC curriculum if well affected will save the day.


Is it that a Kenyan is Never Prepared for an Exam?
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  • Mwagesha

    Thanks for Commenting on cbc I was wondering about your article. We have realised the gaps that exist on our curriculum and we are in the process of changing it.