KNEC responds to the strike by the KCSE marking teachers while maintaining it won’t revise the fee upwards.
Protests by striking teachers disrupted the marking of Kenya Certificate of Secondary Education (KCSE) examination papers in Kiambu County, forcing education bosses to scramble to avert the crisis that could derail the release of the results.
Examiners at St. Francis Girls High School in Mang’u boycotted marking Christian Religious Education (CRE) Paper One yesterday due to long hours and simmering complaints about working conditions at KCSE marking centers.
Following reports of the disturbances at one of the 35 marking centres, Education Cabinet Secretary Ezekiel Machogu led a team of senior officials to mediate the crisis.
Belio Kipsang, the principal secretary for basic education, David Njeng’ere, the chief executive officer of the Teachers Service Commission, and Nancy Macharia accompanied the chief secretary to the school, but the protesting examiners showed no signs of giving up.
In a statement released yesterday, Knec Chairman Julius Nyabundi stated that the replacement of the center’s head examiner was “a compromise to ensure a smooth development of the marking exercise.”
Prof Nyabundi, however, said the council could not revise the marking fee upwards as it could not find an extra budget midway.
“The council, therefore, resolved to allow the examiners who were willing to continue with the marking process to do so uninterrupted,” Prof Nyabundi said.
He assured the country that the marking was proceeding well and results would be released on time.
Teachers were dissatisfied that their grievances had not been met and opted to quit the exercise, forcing Knec to hire replacements.
According to reports, over 1,300 examiners marking CRE Paper One had been ordered to leave.
They said about 500,000 scripts were unmarked and they were expected to complete marking by Friday or Saturday.
“We just want them to pay us well keeping in mind the hard economic times in the country. We wake up at 4 am and sleep at 10 pm,” one of the examiners said.
The Kenya Union of Post Primary Education Teachers (Kuppet) said their members had demanded an increase in pay for marking CRE Paper One from Sh55 per script to a minimum of Sh100.
They also wanted an increase in the amount paid for other subjects. The teachers also accused Knec of forcing them to work under very stressful conditions with no freedom whatsoever.