, NAIROBI, Kenya, Oct 12 – Education Cabinet Secretary Fred Matiang’i on Wednesday interdicted top education officials in Siaya County after students were found sitting inter-school mock examinations despite a national ban.
He further dissolved and reconstituted the Siaya County Education Board and ordered education agencies to nominate new members with immediate effect.
“The Ministry of Education has established that Standard Eight candidates in Siaya County are currently sitting mock examinations contrary to national government policies on education. The ministry takes great exception to the violation of set guidelines on assessments of learners in Siaya County and wishes to notify the public that the inter-school mock examinations stand banned,” the CS stated.
The ministry further found that the mock examination administered had the portrait of the Governor Cornel Rasanga yet education is not a devolved function but a responsibility of the National Government.
Matiang’i further ordered cancellation of the mock examination and urged schools in the area to focus on preparations for the end-of-year national examinations.
According to Matiang’i, mock examinations were banned following recommendations of the task-force established to investigate root causes of school unrest that raised widespread attention and concerns.
The task force found that mock examinations were the main reason that stressed students resulting to high incidences of indiscipline that saw over 100 schools affected during the second term.
He further condemned the county for administering the mock examination close to the 2016 national examination explaining that it will interfere with preparations being undertaken by the Kenya National Examinations Council as well as the students themselves.
The CS further explained that examination rules were amended by the government to ensure that students were not overburdened by excessive examinations.
“Going forward, the ministry wishes to warn stakeholders in the education sector that firm action will be taken against officials who fail to enforce existing policies and guidelines governing education in the country,” he warned.
Earlier on Wednesday, Siaya Governor Cornel Rasanga was criticised over appearance of his portrait in the mock examination papers sponsored by the county government to the tune of Sh1.7 million.
The examination was for all class eight pupils who were preparing to sit their Kenya Certificate of Primary Education (KCPE) in the county.
Critics argued that primary education was a function of the national government hence they found it unnecessary for the county government to spend millions of shillings on the examination project.
Despite the criticism, the County Executive for Education Pamela Akello defended the portrait of the Governor saying Rasanga was the Chief Executive Officer of the county and it was important for young people still in school to know who their Governor is.
She stated that they wanted to use a symbol to show that the examinations were county sponsored.
Akello noted that they could not use the county logo since many pupils are not conversant with it, they opted to use the Governor’s portrait.
In her view, the county government was supplementing the work of the national government since primary and secondary education was not a devolved function.
The CEC further said the examination that was dubbed “Ranguma Tena” is aimed at gauging the strengths of the candidates a head of the national examinations.
The Governor had not responded to the criticism directed at him.
(Ojwang Joe contributed to this report)