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Private Schools against Barring Examination Centres with Less Than 40 Candidates

The Kenya National Examinations Council (KNEC) issued a directive that the examiner will not allow schools with less than 40 candidates to be registered as national centres.

In a circular, KNEC’s acting chief executive Dr. Mercy Karogo said that only centres that have more than 40 candidates, as the sub-county education directors determine, are going to be allowed to register.

In previous times, KNEC did not allow centres with between 6 (six) and 14 (fourteen) candidates.

The new measures of at least 40 candidates will apply for the Kenya Certificate of Secondary Education (KCSE) and the Kenya Certificate of Primary Education (KCPE) starting from the 2021 national examinations early in 2022 (next year).

The examiner set a condition that the host school has to be within sub-counties. The same examination distribution point should also be serving the host school.

The distribution centres are actually containers that are located at the Deputy County Commissioner (DCC) compounds across the country.

Members of the Kenya Private Schools Association (KPSA) are the ones who will likely feel the effects of the new directive. KPSA members rejected the directive as a whole and are looking to have discussions with the council to see if they can reverse the decision.

KPSA is of the opinion that the move is going to undermine the partnership between public and private institutions which has benefited both secondary and primary schools.

“We are writing to express our deep concern over the way in which this decision was made without consulting the key education stakeholders.

“It is an abuse to the doctrine of stakeholder participation and an attack on private schools,” said KPSA chief executive Peter Ndoro to members.

In a KNEC circular dated on the 11th of June 2021 to the regional and county directors of education, only centre managers or head teachers of host schools will be allowed to collect examination materials at the distribution points of the commission.

“The host head teachers will be the only person authorized to collect examination materials from the container, coordinate the conduct and the return of the candidates’ answer scripts to the container during the examination days,” read part of the circular.

Sub-county directors of education have also been directed to submit lists of the host examination centres by the 15th of August.

In the notice to learners, Ndoro told members that the rules are going to disrupt the progress made in the expansion of access to provision of quality education.

Below is the KNEC circular addressed to schools;



The Kenya National Examinations Council (KNEC) wishes to bring to your attention the following information as regards the hosting of schools with less than forty (40) candidates during the conduct of the 2021 KCPE and KCSE examinations;

1.1 As per the previous circular KNEC/GEN/CS/PRO/CIR/DEC/2021/02/rev.7.2 dated 18 May, 2021 on registration of 2021 KCPE and KCSE candidates clause 1.2 stated that “Any school that has between 6 and 14 candidates will be hosted by another centre to be determined by the Sub County Director of Education”

1.2 As guided by the Ministry of Education all Head Teachers of Primary Schools and Principals of Secondary Schools from both Private and Public Schools with less than Forty (40) candidates will be hosted by an examination centre with more than Forty (40) candidates during the 2021 KCPE and KCSE examinations.

1.3 The host school should be located within the Sub-County where the hosted schools are.

Both the host school and the hosted school(s) should be served from one distribution point (Container).

1.4 During the conduct of the examination, the Host Head Teacher/Principal will be the only authorized officer to collect the examination materials from the container, coordinate the conduct and return the candidates answer scripts to the Container during each day of the examination.

1.5 All Sub County Directors of Education are informed to submit the list of the host examination centres and hosted examination centres for the March/April 2021 KCPE and KCSE examinations by 15 August, 2021.

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