, NAIROBI, Kenya, Feb 25 – Parents now have up until June 30 to present birth certificates for their children who will sit this year’s national examinations for purposes of identification and registration.
The extension of the deadline which was set for May 31 is aimed at giving parents and students enough time to obtain the documents, in order to ease a rush that has gripped the department of registration of persons where people have been queuing for hours on end waiting to get services.
Education Minister Sam Ongeri who made the announcement together with Vice President Kalonzo Musyoka and Immigration Minister Otieno Kajwang\’ on Thursday, was however quick to point out that the March deadline for submitting other examination registration documents remained.
“Please people should not get confused. The deadline for registration of the examinations is still 31st of March. It is only the birth certificate that we will allow to come late. All other requirements that need not crowd in the registrar’s office can be done through the schools so that the deadline is met,” said Prof Ongeri.
Vice President Kalonzo Musyoka added that the Ministry of State for Immigration and Registration of Persons would also hire additional personnel to help the ministry handle increased birth certificates applications once the Public Service Commission approved the proposal.
“We will have four clerical officers in addition to every registrar per district which has been accepted by the Public Service Commission. But they have issues with the number of clerical officers proposed because you cannot have a registrar without the clerical officer. So the number four has been submitted and the PSC may be having issues with it but we are sure that will be resolved,” he said.
Mr Musyoka also dismissed allegations that the government was reactionary rather than proactive saying sometimes mistakes had to be made for lessons to be learnt.
“At times like this you take advantage to get a lot of things done and I think that’s what the Immigration ministry is trying to do. When I came in (to ascertain the situation at the department of registration of persons) I found a very depressed registration officer and staff who could not cope. The queue was so long it had gone from Sheria house to the Intercontinental and we are taking up this challenge,” he said.
Immigration Minister Otieno Kajwang meanwhile said all persons seeking birth registration certificates only needed to deposit their applications at the office of the District Civil Registrar and return to collect the certificates after seven days. He however said that it was impossible to decentralise the registration and application system from Nairobi to the grassroots.
“We would have loved to have our offices at every identity card issuing office in our constituencies but unfortunately for birth certificates, the records are kept at Sheria House. We cannot distribute these records in several centers. When you come with your notification we use the notification to check our records and confirm that that birth was registered at any health facility,” he said.
Prof Ongeri further warned Kenyans against waiting until the last minute to get all the requirements. He said, “I wonder why anyone would want to make sure they don’t have their registration birth certificates by 30th of June; four months down the road. That must be something absolutely peculiar.”
The Education ministry also emphasised the need to have the proper identification documents when registering for exams saying it would promote honesty and reduce the degree of cheating and impersonation.
“This leeway has been given for them to ease out the congestion but in order to bequeath integrity to our national examinations all candidates must present their birth certificates which will be incorporated in their registration certificates for the purpose of the exams which will be in October, November and December,” he said.
Parents should bear in mind that birth certificates are usually ready for collection a month after a child’s birth.