Education Cabinet Secretary Ezekiel Machogu announced the new grading system for the Kenya Certificate of Secondary Education (KCSE). The new system which has left tongues wagging is set to take effect with this year’s examinations.
Unlike other years, in this new system, students will be graded based on two mandatory subjects – Mathematics and one language (English, Kiswahili, or Kenyan Sign Language). According to the ministry, the initial grading was discriminatory.
In addition to the two mandatory subjects – the Kenya National Examinations Council will consider any other five best-performed subjects. This, according to the government, will give student a fair playing field in choosing what they are good in.
Previously there were five mandatory subjects across three cluster groups – Mathematics, English, Kiswahili, two sciences and one humanity. Making sciences mandatory led to the failure of many students according to the Ministry of Education.
“It is expected that the new reform measure will increase the number of students qualifying for universities, Diploma and TVET training at Certificate and Artisan levels,” Machogu stated during the launch of the new system on Monday.
More than 3.5 million candidates are set to sit national examinations in Kenya this year. The exams include the Kenya Primary School Education Assessment (KPSEA), the Kenya Certificate of Primary Education (KCPE), and the Kenya Certificate of Secondary Education (KCSE).
This is the highest number of candidates to ever be registered to sit for a national exam in Kenya’s history. About 900,000 will sit for KCSE, 1.4 million for KECP and 1.2 million for KPSEA according to Basic Education Principal Secretary Belio Kipsang.
On Exam cheating that has been rampant in previous exams, Machogu said, “My ministry will ensure that appropriate action will be taken against officers who contravene the rules and regulations put in place. The Government will not spare any person found to be abetting cheating in examinations.”